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Top of the class: Looking back at Aberdeen College of Education graduations

The trainee teacher class of 1993 packed out the theatre at Aberdeen College of Education when collecting their degrees in primary education.
The trainee teacher class of 1993 packed out the theatre at Aberdeen College of Education when collecting their degrees in primary education.

Student teachers graduating from the University of Aberdeen this month will be looking ahead to their probationary year when schools return after the summer.

Although Covid-19 has put a stop to in-person graduations for a second year running, graduates will still celebrate this month in absentia.

Many newly-qualified teachers will be keenly spending their summer holidays getting ready for their fledgling year in the classroom.

We’ve taken a trip down memory lane into our archives to look back at fresh-faced graduate teachers from Aberdeen’s College of Education over the years.


The imposing, granite student halls of residence at Hilton won’t be a familiar sight to teaching graduates in recent years.

This photo from 1970 shows the halls overlooking the new College of Education.


These graduates from Aberdeen College of Education’s class of 1978 were trailblazers in their field.

Jean Brodie, Ethel Cruickshank, Jean Argo, Merle Morgan, Dot McCaskill and Maureen Dunne were already qualified teachers who supported children with additional needs.

The group were the first to receive the brand new Special Education Diploma to enhance their qualifications in working with physically and mentally impaired pupils.


The College of Education was a colloquial term for several Aberdeen institutions that provided teacher training between 1874 and 2001.

In 1987, the name changed to the Northern College of Education following a merger with Dundee College of Education.

These delighted graduates were the first to receive their postgraduate certificates in primary education from the new, amalgamated colleges.


Fiona Sample, Peter Wood, Christine Laing and Pauline Kidd raise a glass for their graduation in October 1988.

Peter was one of only two male teachers studying for a Bachelor in Education at the Northern College that year – the duo were somewhat outnumbered by 63 women.


Graduation in 1988 was a happy reunion and opportunity for these former classmates to catch up, as their established teaching careers had taken them far and wide.

Duncan Mackay head teacher at Maryburgh Primary, Fiona Menzies, Alison Gauld head teacher at Rayne North and Douglas Smith from Broomhill Primary all gained their College Associateship for Teaching Upper Primary.

Fiona, a teacher with the Forces’ School in Upper Germany, jetted back in for the occasion to celebrate with her peers.


Kerry Neilson, Elaine Montague, David Wallis, Susan Lyon and Rosalind Beckett were the latest additions to the teaching workforce in October 1990.

The newly qualified teachers were celebrating the achievement of gaining their Bachelor of Education in Primary Teaching.


The Northern College Class of 1992 were together for the final time at their July graduation ceremony.

Scrolls in hand, the young teachers were out of academia and getting ready for the chalkface when schools returned in August.


There was a packed theatre at the Northern College for the teacher training graduation ceremony 28 years ago.

The 1993 classmates were picking up their new honours degrees in primary teaching.


Cheers to new careers! These women had every reason to celebrate – they had all worked full-time while studying for their postgraduate certificates in primary education.

Classmates Marilyn Macdonald, Dorothy Clark, Judith Philip, Alison Clark and, front, Irene Duncan, Sheila Reid and Rosemary Biddie raised a glass to all their hard work in July 1994.


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This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.

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