Emotional last days at Tanshall Primary School

There were tears for Tanshall on Friday as its primary school rang the end-of-term bell for the very last time.

The school’s closure brings to an end 51 years of educational attainment in the west Glenrothes community following Fife Council’s decision to close it as a result of a region-wide review .

Over 250 parents,  pupils and staff formed a human chain around the school building before  giving it one las 'hug' before the closure. Pics: Steve Brown

Over 250 parents, pupils and staff formed a human chain around the school building before giving it one las 'hug' before the closure. Pics: Steve Brown

Pupils left the building to cheering and applause before 250 parents and friends, gathered to witness the final moments, formed a human chain around the school building.

Shortly after a minute’s silence was observed before tears flowed once more as a lone piper lead out the 30 teachers, support staff and school employees one last time.

Folk wept openly, but the sorrow was quickly tempered with many of the teachers performing an impromptu jig on the entrance steps, bringing loud cheers.

A week of celebration was brought to a fitting close on Thursday as head teacher Elaine Davidson delivered a highly emotional and poignant final assembly which left hardly a dry eye in the room.

End of an era for staff at Tanshall Primary School

End of an era for staff at Tanshall Primary School

Fighting back her own tears, Mrs Davidson, who earlier this year was awarded an OBE for her 41 years of service to education and who has served as head teacher at Tanshall for over a decade, told pupils, parents and staff gathered in the hall that they were ready to give thanks for such a lovely school.

She added: “We are ready to give up this school because this building does not define who we are. We know who we are - we are the best, we are confident individuals.”

“They can have our building but they can’t have us.

“They say education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world. On behalf of the staff, I hope in some way we have.”

Headteacher Elaine Davidson receives a hug from a pupil

Headteacher Elaine Davidson receives a hug from a pupil

Each pupil was then presented with a memory bag containing a book, photographs and a £10 gift voucher paid for by staff, donations and with the help of St. Ninian’s Church.

The week-long celebration also saw nearly 300 former pupils attend a ‘down memory lane’ event with some of them setting foot back inside the school for the first time in over 30 years.

Picnics, a barbecue and class parties had all helped the children to prepare for the emotion-fuelled final day.

Praising her staff Mrs Davidson said: “We had our highs and our lows but it’s been a pleasure to work with the team - I couldn’t have done it without their help.”

Headteacher Elaine Davidson holds up the original 1969 school log book.

Headteacher Elaine Davidson holds up the original 1969 school log book.

Shirley English, the longest serving teacher with 27 years service, said it was the end of an era but that everyone was determined to leaveon a high.

In an ironic twist of fate the pupils who would normally have returned after the summer holidays will now be dispersed to neighbouring Caskieberran and Southwood primary schools, the reversal of when Tanshall opened on February 3, 1969.

Back then, 231 Southwood and 118 Caskieberran pupils transferred to the new Tanshall building.

The school is now earmarked for demolition with the land to be used for housing.

Tanshall community draws strength from campaign to save school

The people of Tanshall ultimately failed in their attempt to save the school from closure but have built a stronger community spirit in the face of adversity.

That’s the view of Euan Howells, parent and member of the CH@T community group which spearheaded the Save Our School campaign.

“It’s a very sad day but every single person in Tanshall can hold their heads up high,” he told the Gazette.

“The one positive to come out of all this is that Tanshall has a closer, more caring and community centred outlook and that will continue long after this school has gone.”

New Glenrothes MP Peter Grant, who has fought for the school since the closure was proposed in March 2013, said: “The whole community can be immensely proud of itself for the way it conducted the campaign to save the school, they acted with dignity and passion throughout.

“I’m still convinced that there was an unspoken thought among some in Fife House that Tanshall would just go down without a fight because there wasn’t the community spirit.

“The professionalism shown by the staff, who have not been allowed to show an opinion on the decision, has been exemplary and remarkable, and has been a great help in aiding the parents and children to look forward to the future.”

Councillor Bill Brown, who also backed the campaign added: “The conduct of staff, parents and pupils throughout the last 18 months must be commended.

“It was a devastating blow when the closure was confirmed but the true spirit of people in this precinct has broken through and it has galvanised the whole area and brought them closer together.”