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Aberdeen Grammar School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aberdeen Grammar School
"The Grammar" (geograph 3387889).jpg
Skene Street

AB10 1HT

Coordinates57°08′49″N 2°06′47″W / 57.147°N 2.113°W / 57.147; -2.113
TypeSecondary school
MottoBon Record
Establishedc. 1257; 764 years ago (1257)
Local authorityAberdeen City Council
RectorAlison Murison (2015–present)
Staff77 (2018)[1]
GenderCoeducational (all boys previously)
Age11 to 18
Enrolment1,120 (2018)[1]
Houses  Byron
  Keith and Dun
Colour(s)Blue, Red, White
AlumniAberdeen Grammar School Former Pupils Club
WebsiteAberdeen Grammar School

Aberdeen Grammar School is a state secondary school in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is one of thirteen secondary schools run by the Aberdeen City Council educational department.[2]

It is the oldest school in the city and one of the oldest grammar schools in the United Kingdom, with a history spanning more than 750 years.[3] Founded around 1257, the year used in official school records, it began operating as a boys' school. On Skene Street, near the centre of the city, it was originally situated on Schoolhill, near the current site of Robert Gordon's College.[4] It moved to its current site in 1863, and became co-educational in 1973.[3] From 1970 to 1977, it was known as Rubislaw Academy, named after the nearby Rubislaw area of Aberdeen.

In an annual survey run by the British broadsheet newspaper The Times, Aberdeen Grammar was rated the 15th best Scottish state secondary school in 2019, and second in Aberdeen behind Cults Academy.[5]

The most notable alumnus is Lord Byron, the Romantic poet and writer. A statue of him was erected in the front courtyard of the school. Other alumni include Scottish international footballer Russell Anderson, mathematician Hector Munro Macdonald,[6] Nobel Prize winner John Macleod and the last living recipient to have been awarded the Victoria Cross during the Second World War, John Cruickshank.


Early history

The school coat of arms
The school coat of arms
A certificate awarded to a pupil in 1915 for success in Maths, English, Greek, Latin, and French.
A certificate awarded to a pupil in 1915 for success in Maths, English, Greek, Latin, and French.

The exact date of the school's founding is unknown; however, research done to mark the school's 750th anniversary led to the belief it was formed in c. 1257, which is the date that is now used for official school purposes.[7] The earliest documented date of its existence is in the Burgh Records of 1418, when the Lord Provost and Council nominated John Homyll to replace the recently deceased Andrew of Chivas as "Master of the Schools".[3] Originally on Schoolhill, near the site of the current Robert Gordon's College, the curriculum consisted of Latin, Greek and ancient geography.[3][4]

In 1580, new pupils were reprimanded, under the penalty of £10, if they did not show good behaviour or did not listen to their Magistrates or masters.[8] In 1612, the pupils, many of whom were related to the gentry in the country, rioted with pistols and hagbuts, and took over part of the school. The masters stopped the riot, and 21 pupils were expelled, while some were arrested.[8]

From 1861–1863, the school moved to its current location on Skene Street. A large granite building in Scottish baronial style was constructed and officially opened on 23 October 1863. This allowed expansion of the curriculum to include English, mathematics, modern languages, art and gymnastics. Other buildings and extensions have been added to the 1863 building since it was built. These include the Bennum Building (originally a primary school) and the 1960s modern design: a west-wing science block, theatre, and a dining hall.

Originally a private boys' school, it became a council grammar school and then a comprehensive academy in 1970. It became co-educational in 1973.

Recent history

In 1986, the original building was devastated by a fire, destroying most of the rooms including the large library, a collection of Byron's notebooks, the trophy room and other classrooms, although the historic facade was mostly undamaged.[9] The school was rebuilt over many years, with modern facilities, while pupils studied in temporary classrooms in the playground. These Portakabins were used by the English and Art Departments.

The modular building that was painted pink as part of a prank on "muck-up day" in 2002
The modular building that was painted pink as part of a prank on "muck-up day" in 2002

The school and FPs club own the 18-acre (73,000 m2) Rubislaw Playing Fields at a site about a mile away from the main school building.[4][10] Shared with the former pupils' club, the location has rugby union pitches with a stand, football pitches, grass hockey pitches and an artificial hockey pitch built in 2005.[4][11]

In recent years the school has been the site of a number of newsworthy events, including a protest against PETA, the painting pink of an entire temporary classroom block, and a bomb threat.[12][13]

The school marked its 750th anniversary year in 2007 with a series of fund-raising events, the proceeds of which went towards buying a new school minibus.[14] Also in 2007, work was completed on a new gymnasium, begun two years previously.[15] The new building has a modern interior compared with the old granite. The building at the Rubislaw Playing Fields was also refurbished in 2008 in much the same style as the gym, and was extended to include four extra changing rooms and a reception area.

In February 2019, the school was shut for a suspected gas leak.[16][17]

The motto is Bon Record. This is not to be confused with that of the City of Aberdeen—Bon Accord—which was first heard of in 1308, over 50 years after the school was founded.

Present day

Today the school is run by Aberdeen City Council in accordance with the Scottish Executive's educational guidelines for state schools. In the 2013/14 academic year, the education of each pupil at the Grammar School specifically cost £4,252.[18] This was the lowest spending per pupil out of the local authority secondary schools.

In the session 2018–2019, 61% of leavers received a qualification equivalent of five Highers or more. Furthermore, 83% gained 5 or more National 5s and 27% gained 2 or more Advanced Highers.[19]

Pupils and catchment area

About 1100 pupils attend the school each year, between the ages of about 11 to 18. The school's catchment area centres on the west end of the city, including Rosemount and Mannofield. There are four main primary schools that feed into the school, located throughout the centre and west-end of Aberdeen: Ashley Road Primary School, Gilcomstoun Primary School, Mile-End School and Skene Square Primary School .[20][4] Under the Parent's Charter, children from other areas can attend the school after successful application by parents. Places using this method are limited for each year.[20]

Colour System & Achievements

The school operates a 'Colours System', wherein pupils are awarded colours at multiple levels for representing the school in extra-curricular activities. In 2018 the school introduced 'Citizenship Colours', for 'Outstanding contribution to a group within our school community'.

There are three main colour awards given. The first, 'Bronze Colours', is issued in the third year of the school. It is represented by a red ribbon on the breast pocket of the school blazer. It requires two years of participation in the chosen activity to be eligible for this level of colours.[21]

The second, 'Silver Colours' are awarded in fifth or sixth year, which is represented by a light blue tie (replacing the navy, red and white tie). Pupils must be participating in the activity throughout fourth and fifth year to be able to get this award.[21]

The third, 'Gold Colours' is the final level of the colours system. It is represented by a ribbon outlining the rims of the school blazer. Pupils must demonstrate a very high level of attainment, performance and achievement to be eligible for this award, usually having to performing internationally.[21]


The rector is the head of the school. Records show there were 26 rectors between 1418 and 1881.[22]

Name Incumbency
Alison Murison 2015–present
Graham Legge 2004–2015
William Johnston 1987–2004
Robert Gill 1972–1987
Dr John Vass Skinner 1959–1972
Sir James J. Robertson 1942–1959
DM Andrew[23] 1924–1942
Andrew Burton ? – 1940
Douglas G. Miller 1923
Henry Fife Morland Simpson 1893–1920[24]
James Moir 1898
Rev Dr William Barrack[25] 1860 to 1868
Sir William D. Geddes 1853-
Dr James Melvin 1826-1853

Notable alumni and teachers


  1. ^ a b "Aberdeen Grammar School". Parentzone Scotland. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  2. ^ "List of Aberdeen City schools". Aberdeen City Council. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "School History". Aberdeen Grammar School. 2006. Archived from the original on 22 February 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d e Aberdeen.  Placemark key on left (Map). Google Maps. 2007. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Top 100 Scottish Secondary Schools". Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Hector Munro Macdonald". School of Mathematics, St Andrews. Retrieved 7 December 2007.
  7. ^ "Aberdeen Grammar School | Provenance | Provenance | The University of Aberdeen". University of Aberdeen. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  8. ^ a b Turreff, Gavin (1859). Antiquarian Gleanings from Aberdeenshire Records. King. p. 65. ISBN 1-4326-3337-6.
  9. ^ "Aberdeen Grammar School Aberdeen". Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education. 2000. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2007.
  10. ^ "Aberdeen Grammar School Former Pupils". Former Pupils' Club. Retrieved 7 December 2007.
  11. ^ "Aberdeen Grammar Rugby". Aberdeen Grammar Rugby. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 7 December 2007.
  12. ^ "Milk protest turns sour". Edinburgh: The Scotsman. 12 October 2002. Archived from the original on 11 February 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  13. ^ "Charges over "threatening call"". BBC News. 13 November 2007. Retrieved 18 November 2007.
  14. ^ "s1 event overview". 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2007.[dead link]
  15. ^ "Aberdeen Grammar School News". Aberdeen Grammar School. Archived from the original on 19 December 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2007.
  16. ^ Beattie, Kieran. "Pupils sent home after suspected gas leak in Aberdeen". Press and Journal. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  17. ^ Morrice, Emma. "Aberdeen academy to reopen after suspected gas leak". Evening Express. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  18. ^ "North East Secondary School Spending". Evening Express. 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  19. ^ "Top 100 Scottish Secondary Schools". Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  20. ^ a b "School Prospectus 2018" (PDF). Aberdeen Grammar School. 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  21. ^ a b c "Aberdeen Grammar School Colours Criteria". Aberdeen Grammar School. Retrieved 24 December 2019.
  22. ^ "Schoolhill". The Doric Columns. Retrieved 28 May 2007.
  23. ^ "Aberdeen Teaching Appointment". The Glasgow Herald. 25 October 1941. p. 2. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  24. ^ "Formation of the Club". Aberdeen Grammar School Former Pupils Club. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  25. ^ Thomas Alexander Lee (2006). Seekers of Truth: The Scottish Founders of Modern Public Accountancy. Kidlington, Oxford: Elsevier. ISBN 9780762312986.
  26. ^ "Russell Anderson Player Profile". Aberdeen F.C. Archived from the original on 23 May 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  27. ^ "Life of great Aberdonian celebrated". University of Aberdeen. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  28. ^ "The Life of George Noel Gordon, Lord Byron". English History. Archived from the original on 21 March 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
  29. ^ "Zoey Clark". The Press and Journal. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  30. ^ "Obituary: Robin Cook". BBC News. 6 August 2005. Retrieved 26 December 2007.
  31. ^ "Martin Dalby". Chester Music. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  32. ^ "Fellow details". London: The Royal Society. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  33. ^ Sandrone, S.; Zanin, E. (2014). "David Ferrier (1843–1928)" (PDF). J Neurol. 261 (6): 1247–8. doi:10.1007/s00415-013-7023-y. PMID 23846770. S2CID 2849337.
  34. ^ Terry Friedman (1984). James Gibbs. Yale University Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-300-03172-6.
  35. ^ "Welcome to VORTEX, War Art & Artists". Archived from the original on 2 November 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
  36. ^ "Mr Iain Gray". University of Bristol. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  37. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Masson, David" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 870.
  38. ^ "Melvin Collection". University of Aberdeen, Library, Special Collections and Museums. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  39. ^ "John James Rickard MacLeod (1876 – 1935)". Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  40. ^ "Aberdeen Bach Choir". Archived from the original on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  41. ^ "John Bryce McLeod". School of Mathematics, St Andrews. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  42. ^ "Scotland the What?". About Aberdeen. Archived from the original on 10 November 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
  43. ^ Fraser, W. Hamish; Lee, Clive Howard (2000). Aberdeen, 1800–2000: A New History. Dundurn. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-86232-108-3.
  44. ^ "William Smith II - Basic Biographical Details". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  45. ^ "Wedderburn, David", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  46. ^ "Origin and meaning of the word "golf"". Scottish Golf History. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
  47. ^ Turreff, Gavin (1859). Antiquarian Gleanings from Aberdeenshire Records. King. p. 296. ISBN 1-4326-3337-6.
  48. ^ "Here's what you need to know about Ross William Wild and who has he worked with – Evening Express". Evening Express. Retrieved 7 June 2018.

External links

This page was last edited on 28 August 2021, at 18:57
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