Highland Side Schools

History and Culture, A place to post a book title.

Moderator: Global Moderators

Post Reply
Noa Rose
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:31 pm

Highland Side Schools

Post by Noa Rose » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:51 pm

I am currently researching Ribigill Side School in Sutherland. I have found records which date back to 1885.

I am trying to establish who the school would have catered for. The side school was situated on a large sheep farm. Would it have educated the farm workers children as well as the sheep farmers?

Any knowledge on the subject would be gratefully recieved, including any recommendations for related literature.



Posts: 8184
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 12:18 am
Location: Scotland

Post by LesleyB » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:41 am

Hi Noa
..and welcome to Talking Scot. :D

I've had a good Google, as I'm sure you will already have done, and I'm not finding anything specific to help with your question, just general info such as:
http://www.ambaile.org.uk/en/item/item_ ... m_id=72781

NAS have school inspectors reports for other side schools which may perhaps be helpful, and NLS have estate records for Sutherland Estate, but which seem to deal only with the plans and lease for the school.
http://www.nls.uk/catalogues/online/cnm ... c10853.pdf

One thing that may be worth checking, if you have not done so already, are the Statisitcal Account for the area, which can be freely viewed.
Depending on the writer, these can sometimes be very informative.

Best wishes

Site Admin
Posts: 5901
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 1:36 am
Location: Edinburgh

Post by AndrewP » Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:24 am

Hi Noa,

The second Statistical Account for Scotland, Tongue Parish has been transcribed on the following website. Page 15 has the section on education. While there is nothing naming the school at Ribigill, education in general in the area is described.

(intro) http://www.melness.org.uk/newstatintro.html

(page 15) http://www.melness.org.uk/newstat15.html

All the best,


Posts: 3685
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:20 am
Location: Australia

Post by Currie » Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:29 am

Hello Noa,

In Parliamentary Papers there’s only one mention of Ribigill in relation to schooling. In the “Report of the Committee of Council on Education in Scotland 1881-82” there’s a report by D. Sime on schools inspected. Listed with those receiving Special Grants under Article 19D is Ribigill consisting of 1 teacher and 11 children under supervision of Tongue school.

That’s all it says about Ribigill but Mr. Sime has a fair bit to say about this and that so maybe there’s something useful there. There don’t appear to be reports specific to Sutherland in following years but there are some in the 1870s.

If you can’t access Parliamentary Papers send me an email address via the PM button and I’ll send you a copy of the Sime report.

Article 19D appears to be the section of the Act relating to Side Schools.
http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/lord ... /committee

Hope that helps,

Posts: 3685
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:20 am
Location: Australia

Post by Currie » Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:14 am

Back again Noa,

I don’t know whether you’re interested in the earlier parochial or the post 1872 period when the State became more involved in education. If you’re only interested in the later period then side schools were, from what I’ve read, funded by public money and administered by the elected School Board of the main school. In those circumstances a Side School at Ribigill intended for remote area children would have been attended by those who found it more convenient or suitable no matter what their parents did for a living or even whether or not they had any connection at all with the farm.

Is that what you meant by your question? The columns from which I extracted the number of children attending has a footnote *All pupils, whether of school age, or over it, are included in these figures.

In 1879, according to the Aberdeen Weekly Journal, the School Board of Tongue consisted of Rev. James Cumming, Melness Free Church; Rev. Thomson M’Kay, Established Church; Mr. W. Mitchell, Ribigill; Mr. Wm. M’Kay, Melness; and Mr. H. G. M’Kay, merchant, Tongue.


Post Reply