Jim Coyle - A Tribute

Published on Wednesday 20 October 2021

We are saddened to hear about the untimely death of James (Jim) Coyle, who has been Head Teacher at Hayshead Primary School in Arbroath for over 10 years.

Jim was a dedicated husband, dad, educator and good friend who will be sorely missed by everyone.


Originally from Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, Jim came late into teaching, where initially after high school, he started a youth employment scheme as a welder, but decided it was not for him. Before applying to teaching college, he also worked in the Department of Social Security in Rutherglen.

On graduating, Jim moved to Dundee in 1993 and taught at St Fergus RC Primary School for over 9 years, which also included a secondment as an ICT Staff Tutor. This digital interest continued throughout his career.

He then had a short spell as a lecturer at the University of Dundee before commencing his first leadership role as Depute Head Teacher at St Columba’s RC Primary School, which eventually became St Andrew’s RC Primary when St Columba’s merged with St Margaret’s.

After enjoying the opportunity to act up as a Head Teacher in Dundee, Jim was successfully appointed Head Teacher at Hayshead Primary School in 2011.

Over the years that followed, Jim worked tirelessly to establish the school with a particular focus on nurture and creativity. The school’s recent successes both locally and nationally are due to the faith in the community and culture he helped build.

For 18 months Jim was also seconded to a role within the Scottish Government, which involved supporting groups and schools with their improvement journey. On his return to school and after years of planning, Jim supported moving into the new Abbey View Campus, a joint venture between Hayshead and St Thomas RC Primary School.

Shortly after this, the pandemic hit, but Jim guided his staff and families through this very challenging time. Up until his death, Jim was invested in school life and valued every person that was part of it. He will be remembered as a great staff mentor in developing leadership in others, many of whom are now in promoted posts.

In whatever role Jim has undertaken in Education, he always put the children first.

For those who knew Jim, they would describe him as a larger-than-life character, with a great sense of humour. Jim enjoyed listening and subjecting others to his very eclectic range of music and was an avid football fan right to the end.

He cared about his family greatly and often talked about how proud he was of his children Erin, Joe and Jenny. His family also look back fondly of how much Jim enjoyed hearing stories from the children at school.

Jim will live long in the memory of those who were fortunate to meet him. He has left a lasting impression in Education within Angus Council and beyond and, although this is a very sad time for everyone, particularly his wife Gillian and the rest of his family, it is heartening to hear the positive stories and well wishes about Jim since the news broke of his death.

Pictured - Jim and surrounded by children from Hayshead Primary School