As early as 1874 there are records of a school being at Inver, catering for what must have been a hardy breed of pupil. The building having no windows, a leaking roof, no books and so few seats the children had to take it in turns to sit down. The school roll stood at 70 despite the village being ravaged by Scarlet Fever which carried away 26 children.
The school occupying the present site was officially opened on October 1st 1878 but that too was not without difficulties. From the Head master’s point of view these early years were hampered with children frequently being absent, the reason being many and varied:-
- collecting seaweed and shell-fish
- helping at home whilst the parents were at the herring fishing
- the boys looking after the ponies
- the girls watching the bairns at home as their mothers walked to Tain to sell fish
- there were potatoes to be planted or lifted
- lines to be baited
- rabbits to be snared
- sticks to be gathered for firewood
- or parents just leaving them in bed in the mornings!
It is of little wonder an evening school was eventually started.
Life wasn’t easy for the pupils either with:-
- no boots
- storms so bad that they couldn’t be allowed home until evening (no cars then!)
- school being conducted in a foreign language, namely English, which none of the children knew before they came to school
- having to cope with Latin, Euclid and Analysis
- Head teachers who could postpone summer holidays
- even request the children to present themselves for school on a Saturday after having had the Friday off for Queen Victoria’s Silver Jubilee (only 12 turned up!)
By 1891 the Head teacher complains of very poor standards with whispering and copying being prevalent, nevertheless business enterprise was strong amongst the youngsters who collected and sold Golden Plover eggs for 1/- per dozen to the local shop-keeper who then sent them to London.
Improvements to the school began in 1900 with whitewashing and painting being carried out and by 1919 classes were being held in Inver Hall whilst major repair work was being undertaken in the classroom, the authorities being much praised for their structural alterations and modern furniture. Next was a modern fireplace in 1923 which seems to have ‘smoked’ away until well into the sixties. From the early days toilets have been a problem with the inspectorate (1878) complaining of them being used to house sheep at night whilst a pig resided in “the pit”. Progress saw the introduction of “pails” in 1917 and by 1953 flushing toilets were the order of the day.
Further modernisation was carried out in 1983.
One day in 1909 must have been memorable for the school when James Coates of Paisley (cotton thread manufacturer fame) presented the school with a large bookcase and 142 books. Over the years other days also rise as landmarks:-
- desks needing fastened to the floor (1923)
- a long over-due water supply for drinking installed (1941)
- war and evacuation (1943/44)
- an outing to Tain Picture House to see the Queen’s Coronation (1953)
- the arrival of electricity
and so the list could continue till the present day with the arrival of videos, computers, and other educational innovations.
A new extension was added to the school in 2001, the old port-a-cabin ceremoniously burned to the ground and the main building refurbished. So the school is now ready to serve the community well into the 21st Century.