Balwearie High School

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Balwearie High School
Balwearie High School, Kirkcaldy.JPG
Balwearie High School – C Block
Motto "To Strive, To Seek"
Established 1964 (junior secondary)
1972 (secondary school)
Type Secondary School
Mr Neil McNeil
Location Balwearie Gardens
Students 1750 ish
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–18
Houses 5: Grange, Kilrie, Piteadie, Raith, Tyrie, Stenhouse[citation needed]
Colours Blue, White & Red             
Grades S1-S6
Website Balwearie High School

Balwearie High School is a non-denominational comprehensive secondary school at the west end of Kirkcaldy in Scotland. Balwearie serves around 1750 pupils aged from 11 to 18 and includes a Department of Additional Support (DAS for short) for children with Additional Support Needs.

History and facilities[edit]

The school was initially a junior secondary school, before becoming a comprehensive school in 1972. It originally comprised two blocks, named C Block and T Block. The J block was added a few years later, housing a library and maths, geography, science, technical, and computing classrooms. This and the C Block is conjoined via a bridge corridor through the L (library) Block. There are also detached hut units housing a small number of classrooms. The school has two cafeterias: the L Block is used by first, second, and sixth year pupils; the C Block is used by third, fourth and fifth year pupils.

Sporting facilities include:

  • a wooden floored gymnasium with gymnastic equipment
  • a gym with weight training facilities
  • a swimming pool
  • an indoor games area
  • Two dance studios
  • Classroom for P.E
  • outdoor tennis courts
  • football/rugby pitch
  • 400m running track
  • 1 Blaes hockey pitch
  • 1 astroturf pitch

There is also an auditorium with a stage area, with a full set of lighting and sound equipment. This was designed and created by the Art & Design Department & Farmer Facilities.

Outside school hours, the school functions as a community centre.

In January 1997, a radiator fault caused a fire in the school's music department, which is situated at the top floor of the C block. The fire began in the early hours of the morning following the schools 'Burns Night' celebrations. It was extinguished rapidly by the local fire brigade. The music department suffered the most through fire and water damages; however, each level beneath the third floor suffered fire damage as well. The school was closed for several days with students being allowed back in stages, with the senior students, who were in the final preparations for May exams, returning first.

There was a second fire on 29 June 2009 in the Games Hall and community use cafe shortly before 5pm; the damaged building was deemed safe, and the awards ceremony due that evening went ahead as planned. Pupils attended school the following day as usual.[1]

Rectors of Balwearie High School[edit]

Rector Start of office End of office Duration (years) Comments
Tom Elder 1964 1970 6 Rector when the school was officially opened.
Oliver McLaughlan 1970 1988 18 Successor to Tom Elder.
Gordon MacKenzie OBE 1988 2010 22 A graduate of the University of Strathclyde, with a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Accountancy. He then moved to Aberdeen University, where he spent a year completing his Teacher Training qualification. He is a past president of the Headteachers' Association of Scotland. Currently he is an external examiner for Aberdeen University and a member of the Learning and Teaching Scotland Advisory Council. In 2001 he was appointed an OBE for services to Secondary Education.
Dr James More 2010 Present Ongoing Was Depute headmaster from 2001 to 2010 after a spell as Acting Rector. He is also a former pupil at Balwearie.

Catchment area[edit]

The school's catchment area covers much of the south of Kirkcaldy, Kinghorn, Burntisland and Auchtertool. Balwearie's associated primary schools are Auchtertool, Burntisland, Dunnikier, Kinghorn, Strathallan, Kirkcaldy West.


A high staying on rate is reflected in large numbers gaining employment, training or Further or Higher Education.

The school originally won a Charter Mark Award for excellence in public service in 2001, this has now been renewed. The school also has the Schools Curriculum Award.

Recently pupils in an Alternative Curriculum Group won a Fife Excellence Award and the magazine club won the Scotsman/Royal Bank of Scotland ‘Design a Newspaper’. More recently, a Young Enterprise company in the school scooped two of the three trophies.

The school is also part of the Erasmus Programme, going on over the two sessions of 2015/16 and 2016/17.[2]

School Board and Parent Council[edit]

Balwearie is supported by a School Board and a Parent Council – the Balwearie High School Association. The Balwearie High School Association provides volunteers for many of the school's social events, including the biennial School Musical.

Notable former pupils[edit]


The school's motto is "To Strive, to Seek", taken from the final line of Tennyson's Ulysses. The line ends " find, and not to yield."

HMIe Inspection[edit]

In February 2008 the school had undergone an inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education(HMIe).[3]


  1. ^ Fife Council, "Balwearie High School open as usual following fire in sports hall", FifeDirect, 30 June 2009.
  2. ^ "BHS March 2016 Newsletter" (PDF). March 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-25. 
  3. ^ Balwearie Inspection Report

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 56°06′08″N 3°10′12″W / 56.10218°N 3.16992°W / 56.10218; -3.16992