James MacMurchy Gardner, MA, FEIS, teacher; born March 16, 1903, died

January 5, 2000

Hamish Gardner was born in 1903, the son of a journeyman cooper. With the support of the Incorporation of Coopers, he was educated at Hutchesons' Boys' Grammar School and went on to study classics at Glasgow University. In 1926 he took up his first teaching post at the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway, where he spent three years.

He married Nancy Sutherland in 1928 and the following year they returned to Glasgow where he taught for the rest of his career.

In 1950 it was decided to set up comprehensive schools in the new Glasgow housing estates. After serving in Hyndland Secondary and Queens Park Senior Secondary schools, Hamish was appointed in 1958 the first head teacher of Glenwood Secondary School in Castlemilk.

From then until his retiral in 1968 Glenwood was known as a centre of new ideas, many of which became common policy. They included a committee of parents, staff, and academics to advise the head, vocational courses, work experience, guidance teachers, and outdoor education. Glenwood acquired its own youth hostel in Wester Ross where parties of pupils and staff could go on field trips.

During the 1960s he served on various committees for educational reform, most notably the Public Schools Commission in 1965, and a committee appointed by the Secretary of State for Scotland in 1968 to look into moral and religious education in Scottish schools. At this time he was also leading a fierce fight for the new comprehensive schools in the housing estates to be given sixth-year status, as, until then, they had stopped at fourth year.

The staff of Glenwood were full of vigour, imagination, and enthusiasm, with good ideas and the energy to carry them out. Six of them went on to become head teachers and one a director of education.

A life-long socialist, Hamish joined the Communist Party in 1938. On his retiral he was nominated for an OBE, which he declined. His wife, Nancy, died in 1971 and, since then, Hamish had divided his time between his garden in Eaglesham and his cottage in Wester Ross. Sadly, his younger son, Nigel, died last year, but he is survived by his son, Michael, daughter, Dorothy, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.