place, plus days off for any royal occasion whether wedding, coronation or funeral! Despite these interruptions, progress continued satisfactorily according to annual inspectors' reports which were important because government grants could be withheld if these august personages from the Scotch Education Department were displeased with the academic standards attained. An oddly cogent criticism of children's counting methods was that they used their fingers! Consequently, in 1905 the infant mistress 'began teaching counting by means of beans!'
An equally momentous decision was taken three years later when jotters were substituted for slates in Kingsland School - this despite the findings of the School Board's serious discussion of the matter: 'The meeting was inclined to think that slates were better than jotters!' His Majesty's Inspector was quite a bogeyman in the early days of the century when he would personally ensure that no child under fourteen could leave school unless the Labour Certificate exam had been passed. Many pupils took an alternative Merit Certificate exam which was a passport to the High School not always utilised by parents who preferred their offspring to start earning at an early age.
Peebles was fortunate to boast a 'Higher Class' school in that the former Bonnington Park Academy on the south side of the burgh was now in the very capable hands of Mr George Pringle who was Rector from 1888 to 1917 and who was responsible for extending and staffing the school to such acceptable standards that it was recognised as one of only twenty such establishments in Scotland at the turn of the century. There are many elderly people in Peebles and elsewhere who can well remember the old school on the hill where the shell of the original buildings may still be seen and where they received an excellent education which took some of them on to even higher academic erudition. One such was the Rector's son, George Pringle, who was dux in 1906 and became in the course of time HM Senior Chief Inspector of Schools in Scotland. Mr Pringle himself was mainly responsible for the dimensions of the 'new' school (1902) which consisted of a central hall surrounded by some seven classrooms, another for woodwork and cookery, a couple of labs and the usual staff and cloakrooms.
Of approximately 120 pupils, some came from far away places like Linton whence the train left (Broomlee) at 7.20 a.m. and arrived back at 6.00 p.m. Unlike Lyne, Broughton or Stobo's