Dumfries Academy

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Coordinates: 55°04′16″N 3°36′40″W / 55.071°N 3.611°W / 55.071; -3.611

Dumfries Academy
Entrance to main building, Dumfries Academy - geograph.org.uk - 932823.jpg
TypeComprehensive secondary
Head teacherJoanne Dillon
Teaching staff52
Number of students547
HousesBarrie, Haining and Laurie (formerly Criffel, Nithsdale and Solway)
School colour(s)Maroon and Black

Dumfries Academy is one of four secondary schools in Dumfries in south west Scotland. It is a state funded secondary school for both girls and boys. The schools moto is "doctrina promovet" which translates from Latin to "learning promotes" which the school emphases within their "vision, values and aims". There are two notable buildings; the Minerva Building 1895-7 by F J C Carruthers and a later building by County Architect John R Hill, 1936.[1]


Dumfries Academy dates back to the 14th century, making it the earliest school in the Dumfries area. The school has occupied a number of different buildings, and has existed in its present form since 1804.

Early records show that John of Greyfriars, a monk, was appointed rector of a new school in Dumfries in 1330. Being a church school it concentrated on the study of religious texts, but in the centuries which followed other schools built in the town which taught subjects such as brewing, mathematics, English, baking, and needlework became integrated into the Academy building.

The Academy operated as a grammar school for those in Dumfries deemed academically gifted as based on exam results until July 1983. The most gifted students from three surrounding secondary schools transferred to the Academy after second year. As a result, Dumfries Academy had the highest rate of university entrance of any state school for many years.

The Minerva building[edit]

Minerva Building
Architectural detail on the Minerva building, Dumfries Academy

The oldest building currently part of the school is the Minerva building. It was designed by prolific local architect F J C Carruthers,[2] and built in 1895 -97 by stonemasons Houston and Robison.[3] This is a two storey building red sandstone in the English Baroque style with ornate carvings by sculptor James H. Douglas of Carlisle.[4] The dome of the building features a gilded teak statue of Minerva, representing learning, from which the building gets its name. It was sculpted by Mr. Craig from Glasgow, following from the original architectural drawings by Carruthers.[5] The Minerva building also features winged lions on either side of the door, and others around the cupola. There is an extensive description in Buildings of Scotland: Dumfries and Galloway by John Gifford.[6]


The current uniform of Dumfries Academy consists of a white shirt, black trousers or skirt, a black blazer with the school crest attached and a maroon and black striped tie. During the 2006-2007 academic year, a senior tie consisting of a black background with white and maroon stripes and the school crest was introduced, to go along with the junior tie consisting of a maroon background with white and black stripes with the school crest. Junior Pupils from S1-S3 wear the junior tie and senior pupils from S4-6 wear the senior tie. S6 pupils that are either head pupils or deputy head pupils will also wear stripes on their uniform, two stripes for head pupils and one for deputy head pupils.

Dumfries Academy today[edit]

The Academy has been a six-year comprehensive school since July 1985 serving part of the Burgh of Dumfries and surrounding rural communities, with an average roll of over 600 pupils and around 50 teaching staff. Students are placed into one of three houses in their first year; Barrie, Haining and Laurie, which are named after influential pupils that attended the school.

They place particular emphasis on their "Vision, Values and Aims,".The schools Vision is "to promote and value learning as a means of improving our chances of achieving success in school,our community and in our future lives". The school has 5 Values which are: respect, ambition, compassion, fairness and responsibility.The school also has 6 aims which are:-"to include all young people so that the achieve to the best of their ability.-to make learning a meaningful and enjoyable experience for all.- to motivate, challenge and encourage people to be, creative,enterprising,objective and independent learners.- To build a curriculum that enables all young people to develop skills for, life learning, and work.-To work with our parents to build a strong school community that supports and cares for all our young people.-to aim for continuous improvement in all we do.

Notable people[edit]


In 2005, William McGair, History teacher at the Academy, was awarded the Scottish Daily Record Gold Award for Inspirational Teacher.[8]


  1. ^ Hume, John R. (2000). Dumfries and Galloway : an illustrated architectural guide. [Edinburgh]: Rutland Press. ISBN 1873190344. OCLC 45313216.
  2. ^ "Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Francis (Frank) James Chambers Carruthers".
  3. ^ "Dumfries Courier and Herald". Dumfries Courier and Herald. 21 September 1895. p. 4.
  4. ^ "British Listed Buildings:Academy Street, Dumfries Academy Including 1936 Addition, Link Building, Boundary Wall, Gatepiers, Steps and Terraces".
  5. ^ "Dumfries standard". 17 February 1897. p. 5.
  6. ^ Gifford, John. (2002). Dumfries and Galloway. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300096712. OCLC 49297770.
  7. ^ http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=5138
  8. ^ http://www.nationalpriorities.org.uk/Resources/Miscellaneous/ScottishEducationAwards/SEA2003/SEA2003-12.html

External links[edit]