This blog was written by Saroj’s son, Vineet Lal:
Saroj Lal (1937-2020) was a pioneering teacher at South Morningside Primary, one of the early group of black and Asian teachers in Edinburgh. She began teaching there in August 1970, more than half a century ago. She went on to work for the YWCA, helping to improve life for many of the city’s ethnic minority communities, and then to Lothian Racial Equality Council (LREC).
In her role as Director at LREC she remained at the forefront of race relations in Scotland through the 1980s and 1990s, becoming a prominent and well-known figure in the battle for justice and equality. She was a trailblazer: a feminist who cared about women and women’s rights, an activist for anti-racist education and a lifelong campaigner for diversity and fairness for all.
A new primary school is being built on Canaan Lane in Morningside, due to open in August 2022.
One of the three options (along with Canaan Lane Primary School and Falcon Hall Primary School) put forward by the Council for the name of the new school is ‘Saroj Lal Primary School’, as a fitting tribute to Saroj’s life and legacy to the City of Edinburgh, and as an inspiration to future generations.
The decision on the name will be made by the pupils and parents of the four primary schools from which the new school’s catchment will be drawn: South Morningside, St Peter’s RC, Bruntsfield and James Gillespie’s. A survey is planned for August, when the schools go back, to arrive at a decision on the name.
To find out more about Saroj Lal – who was an Edinburgh South resident, living in Marchmont/Sciennes for almost 50 years – and her enduring legacy to the people of Edinburgh, go to:
Edinburgh Evening News feature on the naming of the school and Saroj Lal: