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Simon Stoker 2013

 

Former Pupils Association

Original and updated database.
RANNOCH SCHOOL FORMER PUPILS DATA

When the school ran into trouble and was faced with closure the school board said that the former 
pupils data was in a muddle and virtually unusable. This was a great pity as a strong former pupils 
support would have been a great help.
In order to explain what happened with this data it is necessary to explain about how the school
company was structured.

SCHOOL CONSTITUTION
The school was set up as a Company Limited by Guarantee and remained that way until closure. 
It was run by a board of governors.
 They appointed staff, managed money etc etc and had much the same responsibilities as company 
directors.
There were also members of the company. They had a function a bit analogous to shareholders, 
but there was no shareholding.
Any former pupil or member of staff could apply to become a member and this had to be approved by 
the board. They could not refuse membership except in very special circumstances, such as 
criminal records etc. Members meetings were held and they appointed the governors, who themselves
had to be members. 
The governors could also confer membership on people other than former staff and pupils if they 
considered them to be useful to the school.
This extremely important part of the constitution was never widely published and I was not aware of it 
until John Fleming started to spread the word when the school was running into trouble. A strong 
membership of former pupils and staff should have been a huge influence throughout the life of the 
school and could have decided the way it was run. As it was the membership decayed to only about 30, 
many aged or far away and unable to participate. Thus the board was made up of the same few 
members circulating round.
When I found out about membership I applied and was accepted and went to the annual members meeting.

THE DATA
Tony Walker, one of the directors, at a members meeting shortly before the school closed reiterated 
that the former pupils data was in a muddle but added that someone was working on it. I offered my help 
to try to sort it out and Tony said that would be welcome and I should phone the school and arrange it. 
A few days later I rang and spoke to Dr Perdita Hope who was looking into the data. She sent me two
floppy discs containing an Excel spreadsheet on each.
This was how the former pupils data came into my hands as a member of Rannoch School.
Keith Mackay posted an outline about the creation and work of the Rannoch Association Trust of which
I am a Trustee. It was formed to look after what was left after the school had closed. 
As part of this were documents from the school that were passed on by the receiver. The former pupils 
data was not among this. It was very fortunate that Perdita sent me the data because otherwise there 
would have been nothing. The data is now held by the Rannoch Association Trust.

WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE DATA
The data was indeed a shambles. There were two database spreadsheets, no reason given as to why 
two. The layout of each was different and the data held in each also differed.It took a lot of work to 
massage this lot into a single coherent Excel spreadsheet. There is a total of about 3000 names. 
However there was no reference to the old Rannoch Association / RSOBA. A lot of the data was 
ancient, in many cases the addresses were those of parents at the time their children were pupils. 
There are many people missing, I was able to note several that I knew well from my era at the school. 
I've found a few since such as Renwick Hodgson and Andrew Fellowes, but altogether there must be 
many more. I also turned up what became of Tony Rollason and Jeremy Sinclair but was not able to 
contact them. I would love to know what became of DJR 'Ricky' Kennedy who I knew after Rannoch in 
Dundee when he was at the Art College.
When we were planning the reunion in Edinburgh in 2006 we emailed everyone for whom we had an 
email address. We sent a letter to all the postal addresses that could possibly be valid, about 1400 
altogether. This was a big job and enabled us to identify quite a lot of dead material. We had a lot of 
bounced email addresses and a lot of 'return to sender' letters.
We now have about 320 people from whom we have had a response, about 1100 with no response, 
1200 for whom we have no contact data and 600 overseas addresses that we didn't try to send surface 
mail to.
The data was used again to contact people for the reunions of 2007, 8 and 9. The response gradually 
diminished each year. We saw a dropping off of interest with time, with 100 at the 2006 reunion which
 had dropped to about 50 by 2009. There does seem to be a core of people who do respond. However 
virtually no-one seemed interested in assisting in getting more activity going.
It was a breath of fresh air when Alan Beaton organised the Rannoch Gathering in Pitlochry in 
November 2013 and I was very pleased to hear it was a success. It would be great if we could build on 
this to get things Rannoch moving.
Jim Holyoake.
** If you wish to update your data or be placed on the database please use the 'contact us' 
address on the left menu.
 
A brief history
from Jim Holyoake
 
THE RANNOCH ASSOCIATION 1959-1999
        Formerly the Rannoch School Old Boys Association (RSOBA)


  There has been some discussion among former Rannoch pupils about what
became of the ROSBA, later the Rannoch Association.
  Some of what has been said is wrong or misleading and as I have been
investigating this since before the school closed I am well qualified to
explain as far as I can what happened.

  I've spent a lot of time and effort trying to find out about the
Association and have managed to gather a certain amount of information.

THE INITIAL ASSOCIATION
  The original Old Boys Association was formed by David Haddow and John
Dunthorne soon after the founding of the school, possibly when they left
and identified a need to keep old boys in touch.
  In the first instance only life membership was offered. In hindsight
this caused some problems.
  The life membership was I believe billed to parents of school leavers
and many did not take up the offer. My mother didn't, and I never heard
anything about it and knew nothing of RSOBSA.
  I suspect this happened to a lot of people. It was only in 1997 that I
wondered if there was any such organisation and wrote to the school and
enquired. I then took out life membership very belatedly.
  Having only life membership had an unfortunate side-effect. There was no
need for people to keep in touch annually to maintain their membership and
hence changes of address and circumstances were not reported. The
membership data thus slowly decayed.
  At some time an annual membership was introduced, I don't know when this
happened nor how many took it up.

THE NEXT PHASE
  After some years, during the time of Mr Barrett's headship, the school
took over the administration of the Association. I don't know why this
happened, maybe there was a funding problem. It's a pity that I couldn't
get to the recent Pitlochry gathering as both John and David were there and
might have been able to shed light on this. They both resigned when this
happened. Although there was a committee I rather think they didn't have a
great deal to do as the school organised former pupils events each year.
  Eventually I feel that the Association data became part of the mailing
list for the School Magazine which went to many other people such as
parents and prospective parents.
  As I wasn't a member during this time I of course received nothing from
the school. Maybe others know more about this and I would be interested to
hear from you.

THE FINAL PHASE
  I went to a former pupils gathering at the school in either 1997. At that
meeting the head, Dr Halliday, said that he found former pupils a complete
nuisance and was in two minds about the annual gatherings. This was because
recently departed pupils came and caused chaos (As I seem to remember they
did in my day � 1960-65).
  I also went to the 40th anniversary dinner and get-together in 1999.
  There were indications then that all was not well with The Association,
although I didn't realise at the time, I was too busy talking to people I
hadn't seen for 35 years notice! These have become clear to me since.
An example is that the after-dinner speaker was nothing to do with Rannoch.
He was an ex-GlenAlmond (I think) rugby player and what he said was pretty
irrelevant, mainly about what ousiders thought of Rannoch in his day. I now
think this indicates that the school had largely lost touch with former
pupils. There are many former pupils who would have been a much better
choice. eg 'Hon John' KacKenzie, now Earl of Cromartie who learned so much
at Rannoch and became an explosives engineer and world-renowned mountaineer
 - Prime Rannoch output! David Mills whom I know was hugely influenced by
Rannoch and went on to found a renowned design house.
  What stands out was a meeting in the chapel of The Rannoch Association.
This appeared on the timetable for the weekend but with no advance notice
or agenda published. According to the Constitution all such meetings had to
be notified in advance to all members. This was not done.  I went to the
meeting which was pretty shambolic. There was no check that those present
were actually members. Many were not, there were friends and partners
present. There was no check for a quorum. This makes me suspect that the
membership list had fallen into decay and was not available.
  The committee were there, and all they said was that they wished to
resign. They gave no concrete reason this. 
  The committee having, resigned Colin Mackay took over the meeting and
asked if anyone wanted to stand for the committee. Needless to say, without
forewarning, no-one did. Even if they had, valid voting would probably have
been impossible anyway as there was no check on those present.

  I think that occasion marks the end of the Rannoch Association.

AFTERWARDS
  Later in 2001, when the school was floundering. Simon Stoker and I
contacted Mr Carpenter, the last head, with a view to reviving the
Association. We modified the original constitutionof RSOBSA, mainly to make
it uni-sex by replacing references to Old Boys with Former Pupils.
  We had hoped that a new committe could have been elected and picked up
the pieces.
  At first Mr Carpenter was helpful and then quite suddenly went cold and
refused to help further. Why we never found out. Perhaps he realised they
had no information about members and the task was impossible. It was
possibly politics.

FOOTNOTE
  Once the school had closed and the Receivers had done their work, the
remaining documents eventually devolved to the board. This is the board
that replaced the one in control when the school closed as the result of
and EGM by the School Members. This board later became the trustees of The
Rannoch Association Trust, formed to look after anything that remained of
the school. This was a considerable time after closure, probably 2004/5.
 Those documents contained virtually nothing about former pupils. All we
found was the list of 1127 members names from 1992. There was no indication
of life/annual membership. There were no other records of the Association
such as minutes of meetings or accounts.

  Later I spoke to various people including John Dunthorne, Alan Hartley
and Colin Mackay who provided another copy of the 1992 list. No-one could
shed more light on things.
  I see no way that this Association could have been revived. There was no
membership list, no committee and no records.

  As far as I can see, very sadly, The Rannoch Association has been dead
for many years.