Schooldays are over for Falkirk teaching couple

Malcolm and Carole Cowie started teaching together and will retire together this year
Malcolm and Carole Cowie started teaching together and will retire together this year

A husband and wife who started their teaching careers together will retire at the same time this week as well.

Malcolm and Carole Cowie are preparing for their last day at school after embarking on their vocations 38 years ago.

After three years studying together at Dundee College of Education, where they met and married, the couple’s first blackboard appointments were at Bankier Primary School for Malcolm and Dunipace for Carole.

Malcolm (59) spent 11 years at Bankier, then seven at Bantaskin where he was assistant head teacher before his final 20 years as head at Laurieston primary.

Malcolm said: “The thing about the job I will miss is the relationships I’ve had with all the staff, pupils and parents and I’ve been bowled over by the messages I’ve received.

“One thing I won’t miss is the children soaking me with sponges at the fun days. They’ll miss me now, although they certainly haven’t when they’ve aimed their sponges at me.

“There has also been embarrassing moments. I fell in a culvert once on a school trip when I led an early morning run in the middle of the Highlands. I had to get 10 stitches.”

Staff and pupils at Laurieston held a special assembly for Mr Cowie, whose love of music is well known in teaching circles and the local community as he performs the songs he writes at school events.

He was presented with a special commemorative silver plate by the girls and boys of Laurieston primary to highlight their ‘affection and esteem’ for him.

A statement from the school said: “Mr Cowie is a very talented musician and he has encouraged a love of music throughout the school. The music group are warmly welcomed when performing within the community. The children all love his songs and the special assemblies that we’ve had.

“He has been a committed, inspirational and well respected headteacher of the school. His colleagues, friends in the community and most of all, his pupils, wish him a long, healthy and happy retirement.”

Carole spent seven years at Dunipace then took five years out to raise their two daughters, Sarah, now 31, and Judith (27). She then spent a few years as a supply teacher before taking up a role at Bantaskin primary where she has spent the last 21 years.

Carole said: “Retiring together after starting together is quite special for us. I will miss working with the children, that has been the most rewarding thing in a career I have enjoyed immensely.

“Seeing their pleasure at learning new things and making new friends is really special, and some of the things they say make your day.

“I remember one boy, who’ll probably be in his twenties now, coming to the induction day for primary one then telling his gran his new teacher was Miss Piggy when she asked him my name.”

While the couple are retiring, their dynasty will carry on as their daughters both work in education, Sarah as an education officer for East Lothian Museums, and Judith as a teacher at Kinnaird primary.

Mr Cowie added: “It definitely runs in the family.”

In their retirement the couple are hoping to extend their travels with more road trips in the USA - only if all their retirement fund isn’t spent on Judith’s wedding this summer. Malcolm is also hoping to embark on a career as a children’s author.