New building in March 2009
|Location||South Commonhead Ave.
Airdrie, North Lanarkshire
|Local authority||North Lanarkshire|
Cleddans, Faskine, Monklands, Rochsoles
|Website||Airdrie Academy Website|
Airdrie Academy is a secondary school within Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, Scotland.
It has a current roll of approximately 1,100 pupils. As part of Education 2010, a new building was opened in October 2006 to replace the previous one, which had been in use for almost 70 years.
The current head teacher is Martin Anderson. He is supported by a senior management team composed of: Allison Dewar, MaryJane Hunter, Graeme Nolan and Claire O'Neill
Founded in 1849, Airdrie Academy exists today in its third incarnation. First located on Cairnhill Road in a building that now houses Alexandra Primary School, the Academy moved to its current site on South Commonhead Avenue in 1941. When it was built in the midst of World War II, the new building cost a little over £100,000 at the time.
From its inception, Airdrie Academy was the senior secondary school in Airdrie: pupils who did not pass an exam on leaving primary school would go to the now defunct Airdrie High.
This system changed in the late 1960s when it became a full six-year comprehensive, nearly tripling the school role to 1800. To cope with the increase the South Commonhead Avenue site's existing 'A-Block' was expanded into a larger campus with specific buildings for Science and Technology and a fourth 'House Block' with six dining halls and three floors of modern classrooms.
Though enhanced and expanded over the years, the building fell into disrepair with students having to be taught in portable buildings during the early 2000s whilst asbestos was removed from the Science Block. After 60 years of service, the building was reaching the end of its serviceable life and North Lanarkshire Council began exploring alternatives.
In December 1988 there was a meningitis outbreak, resulting in the death of a 40-year-old teacher.
Vigorous lobbying from the school's pupils, teaching staff and the local MSP stopped the school from merging with Caldervale High in a proposed super-campus with over 2000 pupils. Instead, parents and pupils were invited to select a design for a new Airdrie Academy to be built on the playing fields of its current site. The selected design - similar to most other new schools in the county - was completed in October 2006 and is considerably smaller. The new building cost £26 million.
Over the remaining academic year, the old buildings were demolished and the land prepared for new sports fields. During this time one wing of the old A-Block was set on fire by vandals. Demolition moved on and in January 2007 the 'Dome' part of the old building was pulled down.
In June 2006 Allan Dougan, Teacher of Mathematics, was awarded Scottish Teacher of the Year runner-up at the Scottish Education Awards.
Notable former pupils
- Prof William Whigham Fletcher FRSE, biologist
- Charles Hammond, Chief Executive since 2000 of Forth Ports
- Alan Morton, footballer
- Paul Towndrow, saxophonist
- Marion Martell, singer
- Amanda Hendrick, Model
- Sir George G. Macfarlane CB, engineer, scientific administrator, public servant, Director from 1962-7 of the Royal Radar Establishment (wartime scientist working on radar), and designed the Royal Radar Establishment Automatic Computer (RREAC) - the first transistor digital computer
- James Bell Pettigrew, Chandos Professor of Medicine and Anatomy from 1875-1908 at the University of St Andrews
- Sir John Wilson, 1st Baronet, Liberal Unionist Party MP from 1895-1906 for Falkirk Burghs
- James Davidson, JP FRIBA, local architect and tenth President of the Airdrie Savings Bank.