School

Page last updated at 3:27 PM, Wed 12 Jan 2011

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McLean is a school with a long and interesting history. McLean derives its name from the Reverend Allan McLean, a minister of the Abbey Church in Dunfermline, who left a legacy to be managed by a group of trustees. One of these trustees was The Reverend Peter Chalmers of Dunfermline Abbey, who preached at the newly founded North Parish Church (1841). "McLean School" was built next to the church and administered as "an auld kirk school" (1) The North Parish Church and McLean School have maintained strong links since.

The Reverend McLean's bequest was to provide "education at a low fee for the children of the working and poorer classes of the town and particularly of those residing in the suburbs." (1) The opening of the school in 1842 was the cause of some civil disturbance in Dunfermline because the funding for the new school had come from both the trustees and more controversially, the government, who many thought should not meddle in church affairs. The trustees contributed £777 and the government £367 to the final total of £1144.

The school was also known locally as 'McChlery's School' after its serving headmaster, who also happened to be the first session clerk of the North Parish Church.

The school moved to its current premises in 1896, with the new school building being opened by the famous philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. A ceremonial key for the school is still on show at the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Memorial in Dunfermline. Mr John McChlery had retired as headmaster by then, but was present at the opening. The new headmaster was Charles McChlery - his son !

The outbreak of the First World War in 1914, saw McLean used as a barracks for soldiers stationed in the town.

McLean has also been a school for children over the age of 13 with special needs, where pupils would attend 'adjustment' classes to be assessed and then moved into a special needs class or not as decided. The 1930 inspection report tells us these children would "receive instruction in practical subjects." (2) During this period in the 1930's, the headmaster of the school, Mr Norman Johnson, pioneered the use of film as a teaching medium in schools.

By the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Mr Alfred Philp had replaced Mr Johnson as headmaster. Trenches and air raid shelters were provided and children had regular ARP (air raid precaution) training.

The school was still lit by gas lamp when inspected in May 1949, However the inspectors did find "electricity has been installed for wireless reception." (2)

McLean has strong links to the local secondary school, Queen Anne High School. These links also date back in time. The headteacher, Mr David Muir, attended the opening of the 'new' Queen Anne School in November 1958. Since then, the 'new' Queen Anne has been replaced by another new school, in 2003, whilst McLean marches on.

The McLean building was substantially altered in 1984, with many of the older features of the school removed to allow for a more flexible teaching space.

In 2000, purpose built nursery accommodation was added at the north side of the original building, improving the accommodation in both the main building and the nursery.

(1) extracts from "Golfdrum Church - The Story of the North Parish" (1980) by Rev GFC Jenkins, minister of the North Parish Church.

(2) extracts from the school's log books 1927 ~ 1997

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