Harris Academy

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For other uses, see Harris Federation.
Harris Academy
Motto Spe et labore
By hope and work
Established 31 August 1885[1]
Type Comprehensive
Rector James Thewliss
Deputy Rector Peter Murphy
Deputy Head Angela White
Deputy Head Gordon Laidlaw
Founder William Harris
Location Lawton Road (2013—16)
Scotland Coordinates: 56°27′22″N 3°00′32″W / 56.456°N 3.009°W / 56.456; -3.009
Local authority Dundee
Staff 107 (as of 2013-14)
Students 1300
Gender Mixed
Houses Birnam
Colours Maroon, Gold, Black
Website Harris Academy

Harris Academy is a co-educational comprehensive school in the West End of Dundee, Scotland.


The school's current rector is James Thewliss.

The school is situated in the west of Dundee, north of the railway line, the A85 and Dundee Airport. The University of Dundee Botanic Garden is nearby to the west.


Harris Academy has a house system which allocates each pupil to one of four houses, named Birnam, Cawdor, Forres and Kinloch. The former three come from houses in William Shakespeare's "Macbeth". The latter comes from the name of George Kinloch, former MP and reformer in Dundee and from the village of Kinloch. Each of the houses has an associated colour, Birnam - Red, Cawdor - Yellow, Forres - Green, Kinloch - Blue. Each house competes against each other in Interhouse competitions; both sporting and academic. They receive points for their success, and at the end of the year, the points are totalled to declare the winner of the house championship, only the years from 2004-2014 have been listed:

School year House winner
2004-05 Kinloch
2007-08 Forres
2008-09 Kinloch
2013-14 Birnam



Harris Academy was established on 2 September, 1885 through a bequest from corn-merchant and mill owner William Harris. The original building was in Park Place and the school moved to its present building in Perth Road on 21 April, 1931. Harris Academy moved to Lawton Road in 2013 as its former Perth Road building gets revamped. In 2014; it was announced that Menzieshill High School would shut down and pupils are to transfer to Harris Academy in 2016 when the new Perth Road building is completed; although proposals are still to be made.[2]


On the evening of 15 September 2013, Harris Academy's former Perth Road building was on fire. A few classrooms on the first and middle floor suffered. The fire was put out quickly by fire crews from three Dundee fire stations. The fire brigade, who investigated the fire, were of the opinion that the fire was started deliberately, probably by youths.

Senior Secondary School[edit]

Harris Academy was a selective secondary school until it became a comprehensive in 1973.

The last intake to its Primary Department was August 1955.


The uniform of Harris Academy is a three button blazer in maroon with the school badge embroidered on the left front pocket. It is compulsory for pupils to wear a white shirt with black trousers or skirt but not the maroon blazer. Prefects wear yellow bands on the arms of their blazers. The Harris tie is a maroon tie striped with yellow and black.

Buildings and grounds[edit]

Former Perth Road building[edit]

Harris Academy's façade at Perth Road

The main building was built in 1931 after the school population outgrew the previous Park Place building. The current building houses the Modern Languages department, the Social Subjects departments, the Science departments, The Religious Education department, the Craft and Design department, the Mathematics department, Assembly Hall, the Guidance base, Year-Heads' offices, and the Rector's office.

The Crawford Lodge annex to the west of the main school was purchased by the Town Council in 1946 as an extension to the school. Classics and modern languages were taught there. It was burnt down in 1958 and remained a shell till it was replaced by the new buildings in the late 1960s. This houses the Computing and Business Studies departments, the Home Economics department, the English department, the Art department, the school library, the careers base, the Dining hall, two of the three gyms, and the school's swimming pool.

In addition to these there is also a Music Block housing the Music department as well as rooms for music tuition; and a substantial Games Hall building with a fitness room. The school has access to a wrought-iron footbridge over the Dundee-Perth railway line to playing fields at the Riverside.

Not far from the school are the school sports grounds at Elliot Road. These include a recently improved pavilion, a rugby pitch and several football or hockey fields. In summer time, it is converted to Athletics tracks.

In the late 1970s the school experienced a boom in numbers, as a result of its conversion from a Senior Secondary School to a comprehensive school (it was never known as a 'grammar school'). In addition to its Perth Road buildings, Harris Academy took over the premises of Logie Junior Secondary School on Blackness Road, Dundee.

The school was split with 1st and 2nd years attending Harris Academy in the Blackness annexe, 3rd to 6th Years continued at the Perth Road building. Mini-buses provided transport for staff between the two locations by Red Line Coaches. The Logie building burnt down in 2001 and teaching is now entirely centred in the Perth Road campus.

Harris Academy moved to new temporary premises, at the old Rockwell Academy building, in Lawton Road on 15 August 2013 and will remain there until August 2016 when the new Harris Academy is built at the Perth Road site.

Upcoming Perth Road building[edit]

The new Harris Academy is to be built by Spring 2016 with pupils beginning in August of the same year, the new school will retain the facade and the Harris Academy clock tower which will be placed outside an external plaza, a hospitality area, a new games hall will be built on the outside of the main building and every floor of the new building is said to have "different colours" to give the school a feel on every floor. The new building will also have a "sitting area" at the south of the main building which will look forward to the River Tay.

Notable former pupils[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]