Wellington School, Midlothian, Scotland
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Established in 1859 and initially known as "The Wellington Reformatory Farm School", the school was the creation of "The Edinburgh Association for the Reformation of Juvenile Offenders"; one of the founding members of the association was the Rev. Dr. Thomas Guthrie. The Wellington Reformatory Farm School sprang from thinking similar to that which created the Reform School developments in the US.
The school admitted its first pupil in February 1860: James Watt, aged eleven years. James had been convicted at The Police Court of Edinburgh and there sentenced by Sheriff Hallard to fourteen days imprisonment and thereafter five years detention at the Reformatory School. James' crime had been the "theft of a bottle of hair oil from off a barrow on the street". James had had no previous convictions.
Although the word "Farm" was dropped from the School's name many years ago, it is still often referred to in Edinburgh as "Wellie Farm".
1n 2013 the decision was made by council officials that the school should shut. The city council was very short of money, local taxes having been frozen for a number of years and a massive expenditure made in the tram system. Council officials claimed that the needs of the young people would be better and more cheaply met through family based care: foster placements and enhanced support in local schools. The students who were still at the school were placed in other city schools. The majority of these placements failed.
After just over 153 years of service to the neediest of Scotland 's children the school closed in June 2013.
The last pupil in class at the school was T.... ....t whose last day was on Thursday 29th June 2014. The last resident was S... .....n who left the school in June 2014
The school's War Memorial listing those of its pupils whose lives were lost in the Great War is to be lodged in Penicuik South Parish Church. It is poignant that these young men, whose start in life had not been the most successful, had yet gone on to give their lives in the service of their country.
An important legacy of the school is its archive which will be a goldmine for social historians in the years to come. Countless documents have been preserved for posterity including admission papers which stretch back to the first pupils, correspondence from former pupils and the medical register Many of the records have gone to the City of Edinburgh Archive, whilst some are held by the Penicuik Historical Society.
The school motto was "Resurgam" and the crest was a phoenix above a saltire.
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