Moray House School of Education and Sport

Baillie T Ruthven

Baillie Ruthven was Principal of Moray House College of Education from 1975.


Baillie Ruthven was born in 1919 in Selkirk. His secondary education was at Selkirk High School. During the Second World War he was a staff officer in the Royal Engineers based in the Middle East. After demobilisation he studied for a history degree at Edinburgh University, gaining a first class honours in 1951. He spent the following year at Moray House on the Postgraduate secondary course.

He began a successful teaching career as Principal Teacher of history at Kirkcudbright Academy, where he was later promoted to Deputy Rector. He became Rector of Banff Academy in 1959. From 1965 to 1871 he served as Rector of Edinburgh’s Royal High School overseeing the move from Regent Road to the new accommodation at Barnton. He chaired the first Consultative Committee on the Curriculum group to review secondary education; its report, published in 1967 as Curriculum Paper 2, was known as the ‘Ruthven Report’.

Career Change

In a significant career change he became Professor of Education at the University of Stirling in 1971. Here he helped to develop new approaches to teacher training, including the introduction of microteaching techniques.

In 1975 he became Principal of Moray House College of Education and Honorary Professor in Edinburgh University. One of his first initiatives was to develop a Regent scheme with those secondary schools that were in partnership with the College.

He joined Moray House at a time of unprecedented change. The previous period of increasing student numbers and expansion in the College estate was brought to an end in the light of falling birth rates and curbs on public expenditure. In 1976 the expectation of students that jobs would be as readily available as in previous years was replaced by the spectre of unemployment. The lack of jobs led to the first of a series of student occupations at Moray House and other colleges throughout the UK.

Falling student numbers meant that the staffing complement of Moray House was under detailed scrutiny by the SED. Elsewhere, the smaller of the ten colleges of education were concerned about possible closure. Both situations led to difficult discussions between staff representatives (for academic staff ALCES), the College management, including the Board of Governors, and the SED.

Professor Ruthven was a member of a number of national and international educational bodies, including: the Consultative Committee on the Curriculum; the BBC Schools Broadcasting Council, and the World Association for Educational Research.

Professor Ruthven retired in 1981, and died in Edinburgh in 1998 aged 78.