A learning curve at Kirkland

Kirkland High School pupils' on award night (picture by George McLuskie)
Kirkland High School pupils' on award night (picture by George McLuskie)

As Kirkland High School approached the end of its academic life, it was important to reflect on what the learners had learned.

The school and community college’s second-last annual awards ceremony took place on Thursday, highlighting the “eneavours, energy, resilience, commitment and passion” of the award recipients, and the achievements during another school year.

We share common values which help to guide us all through the path of life.

Ronnie Ross

Headteacher Ronnie Ross said the ceremony was “our unique way of celebrating learning”.

This year, Kirkland celebrated 50 years – but it was due to close at the end of next session.

“We are looking forward to working in our new state of the art school from August 2016 with our friends and colleagues from Buckhaven High School,” said Mr Ross. “But there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Kirkland will have left its mark on all of us and all those who preceded us.”  

Mr Ross said Kirkland was a place of learning and its motto was learning for life.

In the company of others, during his 10-11 years in charge, he had learned that, as people, as learners and as a school community “there was so much more that unites us than ever divides us”.

This is a message which lay at the very heart of all that was done at Kirkland.

“While we recognise and celebrate individuality and diversity, we all share common values which help to guide us all through the path of life,” said Mr Ross.

The very dedicated and diverse staff team always acted in the best interests of the young people, students and their families. 

“Together, we learn from mistakes and failures,” added Mr Ross. “Our advice to young people would be don’t be afraid of failing. This is how we learn. You need to be brave enough to fail. You need to show resilience and determination.

“Have trust in yourself but, more importantly, trust in others and learn not to take things personally. If someone is trying to give you advice or feedback on something you have done, try to listen.

“ Be kind and compassionate towards others. We see examples of this every day in Kirkland and it is one of the reasons why this is a really, really special place to work.”

Mr Ross added: “We are a genuinely comprehensive and inclusive school. This is recognised not just in Fife but across the country.”

Guest speaker was Craig Munro, Fife’s executive director of education and children’s services.

Kirkland High School and Community College had witnessed numerous changes since the early 1960s – but some principles remained the same. Head teacher Ronnie Ross told last week’s prizegiving: “The assembly hall we are sitting in was built for a capacity of 720 people. Obviously, the rules on fire regulations and health and safety have changed since the 1960s. 

“When our school opened, it was called Kirkland Junior High School. It was built to prepare pupils for the employment needs of the immediate neighbourhood. I wonder how our new school will be described when it opens in 2016, and what people will think when they read this in 2066?” 

The old Kirkland was more or less designed by its first head teacher, William Reid, who disagreed with many of the architects’ plans.

Today, there were around 40 people and organisations working behind the scenes to build Levenmouth’s new secondary school, but much of Mr Reid’s vision remained. “Great care and attention has been given to what young people expect from a modern educational facility, department and faculty adjacencies and the layout to reduce the amount of ‘travel time’ for the young people going between classes,” said Mr Ross.