Oral History, Page 2 - Kibble, A Lasting Legacy. Residential, secure, education, fostering, social enterprise, training for young people and youths.



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Current Catering facilities

Current Catering facilities

The current catering facilities at Kibble promote a healthy and balanced diet.


– nowadays, the boys are offered (and, indeed, often request) a more balanced and healthy diet but this wasn’t always the case:

“…a thing the boys used to call ‘cat pie’; it was made up wi’ luncheon meat, a wee drop o’ milk, eggs and onions…and you lined the puff pastry and put this gooey mess over it. It actually tasted lovely.”

(Linda McDade, Domestic Staff 1976–present, speaking of school meals in her early days of working at Kibble)


In Kibble’s earliest days and throughout the first half of the twentieth century, the educational emphasis was on ‘The Three Rs’: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Our first Kibble admissions register (1957–1880) records high levels of illiteracy and the school attempted to address this issue. However, the main focus for most of the twentieth century was on vocational skills training.

“…when a kid first came in, he spent six weeks in the schoolroom…there was only one teacher in the Kibble at that time.”

(Sam Hill, Carpentry Teacher at Kibble 1963 – 1995)

“Mr Leggatt was the joiner shop master who taught me a considerable amount. He was a very exacting woodworker who did everything properly and with patience. Something which I am doing now, having just renovated a complete house after gutting it completely…I watched Mr Leggatt over quite a lengthy time, work on a teak garden gate and of course it turned out to be gorgeous. That taught me quite a lot.”

(Bob Burniston, Kibble pupil 1956-1958. Now living in Canada, retired Toronto Police Fitness Co-ordinator and champion amateur athlete)

“‘Cause things were heavily, heavily work orientated, right? And then it started getting gradually less like that and they started taking on more academic teachers.”

(Boyd McNicol, Art Teacher at Kibble 1979–1999)

Boyd refers (above) to a major change that came with the introduction of Standard Grade courses in the early 1990s, which represented the beginning of a shift away from a traditionally vocational emphasis:

“There wasn’t the education system in the school when I first started and this has built up gradually with more education for the boys. That really began to change around 1980, you could really see a difference then – the focus changed towards education. However they still had their vocational training with Sam Hill, David Speirs, and the plumber.”

(Morag Mclean, Teaching and Care Staff 1974-1999)

‘I couldn’t believe the change; I hardly recognised any of it. I was blown away with the changes - even the trees have grown. It’s great that the boys can study towards achieving their Standard Grades now as well. I think that is brilliant.’

(Richard Mussenden, Kibble pupil mid-1980s)

Skills and training at KibbleWorks

Skills and training at KibbleWorks

Kibble has once more been innovative in its approach, with its KibbleWorks programme of a range of training and employment opportunities within a diverse selection of small social enterprises

In more recent years, renewed recognition of the value and benefits to young people of skills training means that it has again become a focus. Kibble has once more been innovative in its approach, with its KibbleWorks programme of a range of training and employment opportunities within a diverse selection of small social enterprises:

“And now we’ve taken a step back, and everything that’s happening in KibbleWorks, again, as I said before it’s not new; we’ve done it all before, it’s just that we chose to walk…to walk away from that and leave it. And we did ourselves a great disservice there and I’m glad to see there’s some kind of resurgence in this hands–on work experience... And I think that’s…is it Tom Farmer and Tom Hunter are both putting grants down for young folk to go and do their Skills for Work? It’s a huge big ‘buzz’ now; we did it years ago – ahead of the times once again.”

(David Speirs, Electrical Instructor from 1984, Principal Teacher, Science and Technology until 2008)

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