Kirkton of Largo Primary School's present building was completed in 1879 replacing the former school (later Scout Hall) further down North Feus in Upper Largo. A comparison of the building as it looks in the present day with old architect drawings downloaded from Canmore (the national record of the historic environment), shows that the school has lost many of its original ornate features including the steeple, chimneys and the barge boarding on the roof apexes. The drawings are dated to the time of the 1910 additions and alterations by Haxton and Watson of 5 High Street in Leven but reflect the original 1878 design by John Melvin & Son of Alloa. The floor plan below shows the separate girls and boys entrances at the front and some detail on the classroom layouts and other facilities.
"During the weary four years of its existence it has been going from bad to worse...In the Largo School Board, which has been the scene of so many wordy warfares, the great topic of contention has been the propriety of erecting a new school or enlarging the old school at Kirkton. With singular variableness the Board, or rather a section, has oscillated from one proposition to the other."
The Education (Scotland) Act of 1872 had made primary education mandatory. This triggered the creation of 1,000 regional school boards and led to the need to increase many a school's capacity. Kirkton School had an average attendance of around 90 pupils around 1874. An early idea was to build a new classroom at the back of the existing school. This suggestion was met with objection from the then teacher who said this plan "broke up and destroyed his garden"!
A counter proposal of building out at the front of the school was also deemed unacceptable (and led to the board member who suggested it retiring in disgust). It was then resolved to lower the floor (in order to effectively heighten the roof). Some outlay was incurred to do this work but not long afterwards it was concluded that a new school was needed after all. Ratepayers protested at this and much debate ensued about a suitable location. The site eventually chosen next to the cemetery was deemed by many to be "unhealthy".
Other newspaper reports on the proceedings of the Largo School Board around this time talk of "hot words", walk outs and "disgraceful conduct". The Fife Herald piece concludes that "there must be a screw loose somewhere when in a company of representative parishioners things have come to such a pass."
Eventually the new school was built and its first head teacher was Thomas Nicoll who remained in post for 35 years bringing welcome stability. His successor David Low Pye was head teacher for over twenty years. Below is a little snippet from the school's history, telling of a scheme to provide lunch to school pupils in 1896 (21 November St Andrews Citizen). The idea of vegetables from the Largo House gardens being made into soup by a lady that lived in North Feus and given to the Kirkton pupils is a lovely one - local food supplies being put to good use with no 'food miles' or packaging involved.