The author of a book which charts the history of Tore Primary School was a guest today (Friday) at the formal opening of a £55,000 extension to the school.
Sandra Bain, a retired maths teacher at Invergordon Academy who hails from Tore, launched her eagerly awaited book at the ceremony which marks completion of a renovation of the ground floor of the former schoolhouse, adjoining the school.
Sandra’s 208-page book is called "Growing for the Future". It is packed with photographs of pupils and staff and chronicles the story of the school over its 125 year-plus history. The establishment of a school was recorded as far back as the census of 1871.
Sandra and her dad both attended Tore Primary and she dedicates a chapter in the book to families with long associations with the school, which holds so many fond memories for her. Her grand nieces Megan and Hannah Bain attend the school helped Sandra cut the ribbon to mark the opening.
She received funding to produce the book from The Highland Council and Awards for All. Copies will be available at the school, Tore Art Gallery and other local outlets or from Sandra. Proceeds from the distribution of the book will go to the school. Donations of £5 are being sought.
Sandra, who lives in Tore, is delighted with the latest chapter in the history of the school. The renovation provides the school with a much-needed staffroom, office, meeting room, library area and disabled toilet.
Mr. Jim Holden, Chairperson of Tore Primary School Board, said: "As we celebrate 125 years of education at Tore School, parents and the School Board are delighted that the schoolhouse has been renovated to provide an excellent staffroom, school office and resource room. Councillors, Isobel McCallum and Andy Anderson, helped secure the funding for this project and we are very grateful for their support."
Mrs Lynne Caddell, Acting Head Teacher of the 41 pupil school, said: "The new facilities provided by the schoolhouse renovation have made an impact on the ethos of Tore Primary and the smooth running of the school. Pupils are enjoying the new library area and the staff team are particularly pleased with their new staffroom."
Growing for the Future
Growing for the Future was originally intended to be a celebration of one hundred and twenty-five years of Tore School (1879 to 2004). It was written with the approval of the Tore School Board and in consultation with the Parents’ Association who received a grant from Awards for All and from Highland Council to help towards production.
With a great wealth of material available, the project was much bigger than at first envisaged. Research raised questions about the actual age of the school and, although 1879 was the date of the opening of the State school, evidence came to light of an earlier establishment with an entry in the 1871 census.
The Log Books provided day to day records of life in the school. Some entries were very detailed, providing interesting material. Past and present members of the community provided reminiscences and photographs of their time as pupils in this school; former teachers provided details of school events. For several years from 1996 the teachers and pupils produced a school newspaper Talking Tore. This publication provided much material for the later years – by which time Log Books had ceased. Several of the children gave permission to use their articles (and sketches) from Talking Tore.
The earliest group photograph available was taken in 1920. However, since the book went to print, one dated around 1912 has come to light. The author had difficulty deciding which group photographs to leave out so all those available have gone into the book, along with many others of school activities and of places in the locality.
Local and school photographers and The Press and Journal very kindly let us use their work and The Ross-shire Journal and North Star editors and D.C. Thomson freely gave permission to quote from their publications.
In addition to photographs there are sketches by Julie Maciver who had much involvement with the School when her children were pupils there.
The inclusion of contemporary national and world events was an attempt to set life at school against the background of history and to remind children, of all decades, of interesting developments during their childhood and that of their predecessors. The author has tried to include events which would interest the present pupils such as the advent of certain children’s comics and, during the War, a visit from the local air-raid warden to exchange pupils’ gasmasks which had become too small.
Very few children’s names appeared in the Log Books but one of the first pupils mentioned (about 1891) turned out to be a neighbour whom the author knew well when she herself was a child. This link with the early days of the School inspired a feature on this woman and her family.
The author herself is a former pupil of the school as was her father; and she spent three weeks on teaching practice there in 1963 prior to undertaking post-graduate teacher training. There are at present in the school several children, including members of the author’s extended family, who are at least the fourth generation of their family to attend. A section has been included highlighting these links.
Over the years there were dramatic fluctuations in the school roll and a graph has been included to illustrate this. At least twice, the authorities made utterances about closure. The threat in the 1990s saw parents rise to meet the challenge and they worked hard to keep the school open ensuring that the story of Tore School continues. One parent’s archive of material – newspaper cuttings and school communications – from that period was invaluable.
Growing for the Future is the story of what most people would consider a fairly ordinary country school; a story which could be replicated as many times as there are small country primary schools. Yet each school is unique.
The project has brought together stories which might otherwise have been lost. An In Memoriam section at the end remembers those connected with the school (mainly former pupils) who passed away in the course of the two years taken to compile the book. Several of them had provided stories from their time.
A large number of children and teachers have been brought together in the pages and the work documents many everyday events, ordinary and not-so ordinary, for more than one hundred and twenty-five years. Those who are closely involved with the school today will find that there is much which has not changed.
Copies will be available at the school, Tore Art Gallery and other local outlets or from the author. Proceeds from the distribution of the book will go to the school.