Merkland School, built in 1971, is an East Dunbartonshire Primary and Secondary
Special School that was initially designed to provide an appropriate education for pupils
with moderate learning difficulties. Over the years the pupil population has gradually
changed and now includes pupils with a very wide range of special educational needs -
communication, language (comprehensive and expressive), general developmental delay,
sensory impairment and a variety of medical syndromes. A specialist Support Base for
secondary aged pupils with language and communication disorders is also incorporated
within the school and is accessed according to individual need. The current school roll
stands at 95 pupils (32 primary and 63 secondary) and is staffed by 17.4 f.t.e. teachers,
1 nursery nurse, 7 support staff, the school janitor and visiting specialist staff from a
range of services (educational psychology, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy,
occupational therapy, school medical officer, English as an additional language team,
social work and careers). Thus there is a multi-agency approach to meeting the individual
educational and social needs of the pupils, with parents being central to this process.
All pupils have an individual educational programme (IEP) and the majority have a Record
of Needs. Working in partnership with parents, pupils' views and opinions are included in
the decision making process.
The Wider Community
East Dunbartonshire lies to the north of Glasgow and is a series of distinct towns and
villages, each with its own unique identity and character. Merkland School is situated in
the town of Kirkintilloch. Pupils attending the school come from all over East
Dunbartonshire and are transported to and from school each day. Just over 13 per cent of
our pupils come from neighbouring authorities and therefore our school's 'wider community'
reaches out into these areas. An active School Board and Parent Teacher Association are
consistent in their support as are our Chaplaincy, Community Police Teams and Local
Commonality with other schools
Merkland School has always been viewed as 'a smaller and more sheltered' environment than
a mainstream setting, but it has much in common with other schools in that we, too, have
enabled pupils' greater engagement, independence and constructive inter-dependence in
their own classroom learning. We have all - pupils, parents, staff and others - worked
hard to develop our school's own sense of community, the practice of mutual support, and
the willingness to take responsibility within our own systems, as exemplified by our Pupil
Council. We have also long held the philosophy of providing activities and engaging in the
local community to extend the personal, social and participatory experiences of pupils, by
creating 'real life' situations for learning.
A:S4 pupil being supervised while preparing
a cappuccino coffee.