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School Log Books
  Log books kept by head teachers of schools are an important source of information on education in Scotland since 1872. For more information about these and frequently asked questions in Scotland's archives about school log books see below.



Head Teachers' Logs
Under the 1872 Education (Scotland) Act the head teacher of each school run by one of Scotlandís school boards was obliged to keep a daily log book of occurrences at the school, particularly factors affecting pupil attendance (such as epidemics and severe weather) and staff absences. Other information which might be entered, depending on the circumstances of the school and the thoroughness of the head teacher, include attendance statistics, lists of teaching staff and subjects taught, dates and results of visits by H M Inspectors, evacuation (during the second world war), and end-of-term or end-of-year prize giving.

Location of Log Books
In most areas of Scotland school log books are still in the hands of the schools themselves. In many cases records disappear when schools close. Some schools have simply destroyed historical records, at the whim of head teachers, over the years. In the 1980s and 1990s some local authority archives attempted to preserve school records for their areas by systematically approaching schools to ask for the transfer of school records to archives. Where a school log book is held by a local authority archive, it is normally subject to a closure rule of 50 years, except with the permission of the Head Teacher of the school.

Image 2
image of page from school logbook
Typical entry in school log book, noting the absence of a teacher through illness and the effect on pupil attendance of a storm (reproduced by kind permission of Ayrshire Archives, reference CO3/10/7/46/13).


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will I find details of pupils in a log book?

2. How do I find log books and other school records for a particular school in Scotland?


Image 1
image of school logbook
Head teacher's logbook (reproduced by kind permission of Ayrshire Archives, reference CO3/10/7/46/13).




Alison Lindsay (National Register of Archives for Scotland); Robin Urquhart (SCAN)