St. Blanes Primary School is located in Fernslea Avenue. There have been 2 schools at this location. The former school coincided with the building of many new homes around it. It was part of a noticeable expansion of Blantyre in the mid 1950s.
Accommodation was for 340 pupils. An interesting feature being that it was built to a standard plan so that the Authority could have the best type of school in the shortest possible time.
The Architect was D.G Bannerman, County Architect and the Contractors were Lanarkshire Builders Ltd of Mossend.
It was opened in 1957 at the same time as St John the Baptist School in Uddingston at a total cost of £135,000. Teachers and pupils arrived on 3rd May 1957. The official opening ceremony by Councillor Walter Cameron took place on 10th May 1957. The school was also dedicated that dat by the Bishop of Mothwerwell, Right Rev James D Scanlan. The opening roll had 266 pupils
The first headmaster was Mr. Hugh McGhee, assisted by 6 teachers. In October 1959, the first infant mistress was appointed, Mrs. Margaret H McConnell.
Throughout the 1960s, the roll increased and the school gained an excellent reputation. In February 1969, Mr. McGhee died and in June of that year headmaster Thomas O’Neill was appointed, who would serve right throughout the 1960s and 70s.
St Blane’s PTA was formed in October 1969 with a very encouraging response from parents. The building of new homes in the area saw a steady increase in the number of children attending the school. Therefore, in 1971, four temporary classrooms were erected to accommodate the growing need for more pupils.
A large extension to the main school building, added a further 9 classrooms, making use of their owned land, and this was ready for use in September 1973. Further teachers were sought at that time. The school by then could accommodate 500 people.
Attendance was for RC pupils. By 1977, there were 18 classes and 20 members of staf, all housed in very adequate accommodation with ample playground space and excellent playing fields. The school continued to thrive with an excellent reputation.
By 2007, new plans were being approved for a replacement school as part of the new Scottish Government’s drive for upgrading and replacing Scottish Schools. The new school was to be built at Fernslea Avenue, which would replace the former St Blanes adjacent. Phase 1 work commenced on the new £5.2 million St Blane’s Primary School in July 2007.
Works included construction of the school, car parks and roads. The new school was built by Keir Construction on a brownfield site and handed over at the end of June that year, ready for August term opening.
It has 10 classrooms each with an interactive whiteboard, open areas, a library, a conference suite, a computer suite, a large gym hall and separate dining area. They also have a room called the Sunshine Room, which is used as a nurture room.
Phase 2 commenced in August 2008 when the existing school was demolished and the ground levelled in preparation for the MUGA pitch and bus turning circle, this phase completed by 2010.
Outdoors they now have two playgrounds with wooden play equipment and some tables and benches. The school is of a linear design, built in steel with a variety of finishes including a distinctive bright red and black cladding. The school incorporates a multiple use games area known as ‘the MUGA’. This is used for football, basketball, netball and many other activities.
St Blane’s is extremely fortunate in having within the playground their very own garden. They have grown their own vegetables and herbs and even ran an enterprise project where pupils grew plants for sale. This facility includes large planting beds and a poly tunnel/greenhouse.
Head teacher is Mrs Pauline Brown who took over from Mrs Anne Marie Reid. Principal teacher is Mrs Anne O Donnelly. The janitor is Mr. Alec Rankin.
The current school roll has 241 pupils.
In February 2012, plans were thwarted for a new SEBN school at the St Blane’s location, instead preferring to build the special needs school at Bardykes on the site of the former remand home. This protected the large playground and space adjacent to St Blanes. The School has an excellent reputation.
A large archive of school photos can be found on Blantyre Project website .
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016