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|Motto||Vigor et Juventas
(Vigour and Youth)
|Type||Independent day school|
|Deputy Head||David Starbuck|
|Location||17-23 Queens Road
|Houses||Gordon, Stuart , Douglas and Forbes|
|HMIE report||5 September 2006|
|Head of Lower School||Mrs. Karen B. Thomson|
Albyn School is a coeducational independent day school, founded in 1867 in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is located on Queens Road and Forest Road. 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.
In 1886 the school moved into premises at Nos 4-6 in a terrace diagonally opposite St Margaret’s School for Girls and was officially known as the Albyn Place School for Girls, but most people knew it as "Mackie's", because the reputation of principal Alexander Mackie. It was also known as the Union Place Ladies' School for a period. In 1967, the school celebrated its centenary. Under the direction of Headmistress Dorothy Kidd, a volume was produced outlining the school's history. For much of its history, Albyn was a boarding school and only recently became a day school.
The school started with a kindergarten and primary section, and in addition to core subjects it also offered music, dancing, drawing and painting. The upper school was focused on university entrance exams in English and literature, mathematics, science, and languages. In 1911, the school was equipped with science laboratories.
Alexander Mackie (1855–1915) was born in at Delgatie Castle in Buchan, where his father was the head gardener. His early schooling was at the Free Church Institution in Macduff. In 1872, he obtained his MA Honors degree at King's College, Aberdeen, as well as the Seafield Gold Medal in English.
His teaching career began at Union Place School for Girls, founded by Harriet Warrack. When Warrack retired from teaching in 1886, Mackie took over the management of the school, and Union Place School for Girls changed locations and became known as Albyn. Mackie was principal of Albyn until his death in June 1915. Before his death, Mackie was appointed to the committee of the city library and he was elected Examiner in English at the University of Aberdeen.
Mackie gave up teaching at the beginning of the 1914–1915 session, and was absent for much of the year. He died hours after the school closed for the summer holiday on June 25, 1915, shortly before his sixtieth birthday. He was buried in Springbank Cemetery, Aberdeen. The smaller 'Lower School' library was dedicated to him.
Miss Margaret Thirde was appointed in 1915 as the third Head of Albyn, following Alexander Mackie. Like Mackie, she also taught English. In late 1919, she resigned her post to get married, and moved to South Africa with her husband. She became a well-known figure of the local community and when she died her husband donated a substantial sum to the local independent boys’ school, Kearsney College. This was used to construct a new school hall named the Margaret Henderson Hall in her honor.
Miss E. C. S. Oliver, who retired in 1948 after 28 years in office, was appointed as headmistress in January 1920. Under her management, the school moved to the more spacious surroundings of Queen's Road. The school had acquired No 21 as a boarding house and purchased 19 and 23. The school was now equipped with tennis courts and electric lighting, and hockey was played on rough pitches at Kepplestone. During her tenure, there were numerous developments in curriculum including the arts, sport and political and moral debate, and comportment.
In her final act of devotion to Albyn, instead of selling Albyn to her successor for her own profit, Miss Oliver arranged for the appointment of a board of governors and the creation of the Albyn School for Girls Ltd, a company run as a charitable trust. She donated the school to that company, membership of which was open to former pupils and certain honorary members only. In January 1949, the new board appointed Miss Walker, who led the school through recognition of Grant Aided Status, acquisition of the Summerhill playing fields and sustained development. Mrs IM Fowlie, vice chairman on the original board, soon became chairman and led the School for two decades, providing continuity of strategic planning and development.
The board appointed Dorothy Kidd (1916–2004) as headmistress; she held the positions for 18 years from 1958 to 1976, during which the school opened the new hall, gym, and new science labs and celebrated its centenary in 1967.
On her retirement in 1976, Miss Kidd was succeeded by Miss Christine Campbell, who had previously been headmistress of St Bride's, a girls school in Helensburgh that subsequently became Lomond School. Miss Campbell's tenure ended due to ill health and she died in 1982. Miss Catherine Morrison, head of English, deputy head, served as acting head from January to December 1982.
Miss Norma Smith, a chemist, was appointed as headmistress in December 1982 for 15 years until retiring in 1997. She oversaw the construction of the new science block on the south side of the playground, opened by the vice chancellor of Aberdeen University in 1992 and dedicated to the memory of Dorothy Kidd. Smith was followed in office by Sheena Taylor, who joined Albyn from Torry Academy, where she had been assistant head and English teacher and in 1999, she was replaced by Miss Jennifer Leslie. Miss Leslie had been a long-standing member of staff who as Head of Modern Languages and then Deputy Head. On Miss Leslie's retirement in 2002, the Board appointed Dr John Halliday, the first male Head since Mackie. After he had retired Dr. Ian Long was appointed being the headmaster and is still today.
In November 2004 the School revitalized the nursery provision, opened a baby and toddler unit in the former home economics building. Albyn was the first school in Scotland to open a nursery for children aged 3 months and upwards.
Co-education: The Beginning of a New Age for Albyn
In January 2005, the Board announced a programme of co-education over the next 8 years. The first boys were admitted to the Lower School, up to Primary 5, in August 2005, and they will remain the oldest boys as the school becomes fully co-educational by September 2013. Construction of a brand-new primary school building was completed.
In 2009 and 2010 consecutively, Albyn School received the best Higher exam results among the schools in Aberdeen.
The redevelopment project
The redevelopment project consists of a new front entrance, new links to and from the old buildings, a new classroom block, new science labs and an extension to the Oliver wing (nurseries). The redevelopment project was officially finished during the summer 2012 and was opened by HRH The Duke of Gloucester.
The new classroom block
The new classroom block will be similar in style to the existing Lower school building. It will provide 10 large classrooms for the expanding school. The new block will be energy efficient, using solar panels on the roof to generate hot water.