Aberdeen Grammar School

Last updated

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

AB10 1HT

Coordinates 57°08′49″N2°06′54″W / 57.1468581°N 2.115042°W / 57.1468581; -2.115042 Coordinates: 57°08′49″N2°06′54″W / 57.1468581°N 2.115042°W / 57.1468581; -2.115042
Type Secondary school
MottoBon Record
Establishedc.1257;765 years ago (1257)
Local authority Aberdeen City Council
RectorAlison Murison (2015–present)
Staff77 (2018) [1]
Gender Coeducational (all boys previously)
Age11to 18
Enrolment1,120 (2018) [1]
Houses  Byron
  Keith and Dun
Colour(s)Blue, Red, White
Alumni Aberdeen Grammar School Former Pupils Club
Website Aberdeen 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]

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 former student is Lord Byron, the Romantic poet and writer who spent a short amount of time at the school before his move back to England as a 10 year old. A statue of him was erected in the front courtyard of the school. Alumni include Scottish international footballer Russell Anderson, mathematician Hector Munro Macdonald, [6]


Early history

The school coat of arms AberdeenGrammarLogo.jpg
The school coat of arms
A certificate awarded to a pupil in 1915 for success in Maths, English, Greek, Latin, and French. Aberdeen Grammar School 1st prize 1915.jpg
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]

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 modular building that was painted pink as part of a prank on "muck-up day" in 2002 Pinkhut.jpg
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]

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

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]

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

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]

DM Andrew [23] 1924–1942
Henry Fife Morland Simpson1893–1920 [24]
Rev Dr William Barrack [25] 1860 to 1868

Notable alumni and teachers

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aberdeen</span> Third most populous city of Scotland

Aberdeen is a city in North East Scotland, and is the third most populous city in the country. Aberdeen is one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas, and has a 2020 population estimate of 198,590 for the city of Aberdeen, and 227,560 for the local council area making it the United Kingdom's 39th most populous built-up area. The city is 93 mi (150 km) northeast of Edinburgh and 398 mi (641 km) north of London, and is the northernmost major city in the United Kingdom. Aberdeen has a long, sandy coastline and features an oceanic climate, with cool summers and mild, rainy winters.

Education in Scotland is overseen by the Scottish Government and its executive agency Education Scotland. Education in Scotland has a history of universal provision of public education, and the Scottish education system is distinctly different from those in the other countries of the United Kingdom. The Scotland Act 1998 gives the Scottish Parliament legislative control over all education matters, and the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 is the principal legislation governing education in Scotland. Traditionally, the Scottish system at secondary school level has emphasised breadth across a range of subjects, while the English, Welsh and Northern Irish systems have emphasised greater depth of education over a smaller range of subjects.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George Jamesone</span> Scottish painter (1587–1644)

George Jamesone was a Scottish painter who is regarded as Scotland's first eminent portrait-painter.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Harlaw Academy</span> Secondary school in Aberdeen, Scotland

Harlaw Academy is a six-year comprehensive secondary school situated 200 yards from the junction of Union Street and Holburn Street in the centre of Aberdeen, Scotland. It is directly adjacent to St Margaret's School for Girls. The academy draws most of its pupils from its associated primary schools, namely, Broomhill Primary School, Ferryhill Primary School, Kaimhill Primary School and Hanover Street School. Ross McLaren has been headteacher since February 2020.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Strathallan School</span> School in Forgandenny, Perth and Kinross, Scotland

Strathallan School is an independent boarding and day school in Scotland for boys and girls aged 7–18. The school has a 153-acre (62-hectare) campus at Forgandenny, a few miles south of Perth.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">High School of Glasgow</span> Independent school in Glasgow, Scotland

The High School of Glasgow is an independent, co-educational day school in Glasgow, Scotland. The original High School of Glasgow was founded as the choir school of Glasgow Cathedral in around 1124, and is the oldest school in Scotland, and the twelfth oldest in the United Kingdom. On its closure as a selective grammar school by Glasgow City Corporation in 1976, it immediately continued as a co-educational independent school as a result of fundraising activity by its Former Pupil Club and via a merge by the Club with Drewsteignton School. The school maintains a relationship with the Cathedral, where it holds an annual service of commemoration and thanksgiving in September. It counts two British Prime Ministers, two Lords President and the founder of the University of Aberdeen among its alumni.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Mary Erskine School</span> Independent day and boarding school in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Mary Erskine School, popularly known as "Mary Erskine's" or "MES", is an all-girls independent secondary school in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was founded in 1694 and has a roll of around 750 pupils. It is the sister school of the all-boys Stewart's Melville College (SMC) with which MES shares a coeducational nursery and junior school for pupils aged 3–11.

Paisley Grammar School is a secondary school in Paisley, the largest town in Renfrewshire, Scotland. The school was founded in 1576 by royal charter of King James VI and is situated on Glasgow Road. The school is recognised as one of Scotland's oldest schools with an established history.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hazlehead Academy</span> Prison school in Hazlehead, Aberdeen, Scotland

Hazlehead Academy, formerly known as Central School then Aberdeen Academy, is a comprehensive secondary school in Aberdeen, Scotland. It has four main feeder primary schools, Airyhall Primary School, Fernielea Primary School, Hazlehead Primary School and Kingsford Primary School - in addition to this, pupils who have been part of a Gaelic unit at Aberdeen's Gilcomstoun Primary School can transfer to Hazlehead, which offers Gaelic as part of the curriculum.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dyce Academy</span> Secondary school in Dyce, Aberdeen, Scotland

Dyce Academy is the only state secondary school in Dyce, a small suburb of Aberdeen, serving as the sole provider of secondary education in the area. Dyce Academy's catchment area includes Dyce and the nearby village of Newmachar, though some pupils do attend from other nearby areas such as Bucksburn.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Albyn School</span> Independent day school in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Albyn School is a coeducational independent day school, founded in 1867 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Albyn was originally an all-girls school before becoming co-educational in 2005. The school has a nursery, primary school and secondary school; pupils can attend from 2 years old to 18 years old.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bridge of Don Academy</span> Secondary school in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, Scotland

Bridge of Don Academy is an Aberdeen City Council operated six-year secondary comprehensive school and community centre in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, Scotland. The building was opened in 1979, originally designed to accommodate around 900 pupils. The school's functional capacity is currently 799. Its feeder primaries are Balmedie, Braehead and Scotstown primary schools.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Education in Aberdeen</span>

Education in Aberdeen, Scotland has a strong tradition with two Universities and Scotland's largest further education college.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cathkin High School</span> Secondary school comprehensive school in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, Scotland

Cathkin High School is a state secondary school in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, Scotland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George Chrystal</span> British mathematician

George Chrystal FRSE FRS was a Scottish mathematician. He is primarily know for his books on algebra and his studies of seiches which earned him a Gold Medal from the Royal Society of London that was confirmed shortly after his death.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hector Munro Macdonald</span> Scottish mathematician

Prof Hector Munro Macdonald FRAS FRSE LLD was a Scottish mathematician, born in Edinburgh in 1865. He researched pure mathematics at Cambridge University after graduating from Aberdeen University with an honours degree.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bearsden Academy</span> State secondary school in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland

Bearsden Academy is a non-denominational, state secondary school in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chryston High School</span> Secondary school in North Lanarkshire, Scotland

Chryston High School is a six-year non-denominational secondary school situated in Chryston, North Lanarkshire Scotland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cults Academy</span> School in Aberdeen, Scotland

Cults Academy is an Aberdeen City Council secondary school in Cults, Aberdeen, Scotland. It was the recipient of The Sunday Times Scottish State Secondary School of the Year Award 2008 because of its outstanding exam results that year, having been rated 3rd in 2005. Based on pupil numbers, Cults Academy is the largest state school in Aberdeen. It was founded in 1967.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Keith Grammar School</span> Secondary school in Keith

Keith Grammar School is a secondary school in, Moray, Scotland. It was built in 1965 by the Educational Committee of Banffshire County Council. As of September 2013 the school roll was 450 pupils. It is administered by the Moray Council Education and Social Care Department.


  1. 1 2 "Aberdeen Grammar School". Parentzone Scotland. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  2. "List of Aberdeen City schools". Aberdeen City Council. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "School History". Aberdeen Grammar School. 2006. Archived from the original on 22 February 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Aberdeen. Placemark key on left (Map). Google Maps. 2007. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  5. "Top 100 Scottish Secondary Schools" . Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  6. 1 2 "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. 1 2 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. 1 2 "School Prospectus 2018" (PDF). Aberdeen Grammar School. 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  21. 1 2 3 "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". afc.co.uk. 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 . Vol. 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. "Michael Sheard". Press & Journal. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  43. "Scotland the What?". About Aberdeen. Archived from the original on 10 November 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
  44. Fraser, W. Hamish; Lee, Clive Howard (2000). Aberdeen, 1800–2000: A New History. Dundurn. p. 36. ISBN   978-1-86232-108-3.
  45. "William Smith II - Basic Biographical Details". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  46. "Actress and Former Pupil Annie Wallace to Visit School". Aberdeen Grammar School. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  47. "Wedderburn, David", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  48. "Origin and meaning of the word "golf"". Scottish Golf History. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
  49. Turreff, Gavin (1859). Antiquarian Gleanings from Aberdeenshire Records. King. p.  296. ISBN   1-4326-3337-6.