International School of Aberdeen

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The outskirts of ISA, photographed from the window of a classroom. June, 2005

The International School of Aberdeen (ISA) is a school in Pitfodels, Cults, Aberdeen, Scotland. It takes in students that come from other countries besides the UK, although British students are allowed to attend the school. It was formerly known as the American School in Aberdeen.

It is one of three IB World Schools in Scotland that offers the IB Diploma Programme. The other two are St Leonards School, St Andrews and Fettes College, Edinburgh.


The American School in Aberdeen was established in 1972 with a school population of thirty-six students from Kindergarten through grade 12 and a faculty of eight teachers. The original campus was located on Craigton Road in Cults and was a former convalescent hospital, built in 1910 and situated on 9.5 acres of green lawns and woodlands overlooking the village of Cults. In 1979, the parents and the corporate payers had divergent opinions about how the school should move forward. The sponsoring corporations decided to establish a charitable company to run the school. The property was purchased from Mr. AJ McCormick and Paloak, Ltd., the consortium of oil companies, was set up to act as landlord to the school.

A second property, 'Fairgirth' in Milltimber was purchased in 1980 and was originally the Elementary (up to Grade 6) campus of ASA. A series of building works in 1991, 1995, 1996 and 2002 extended the original manor house to include extensive classroom and sporting facilities on the 10 acre site.

In 1996 the High School moved across from the Cults campus to Fairgirth and the entire school was under one roof. In addition to the meging of the two campuses at Fairgirth in 1996 the school also changed its name to the International School of Aberdeen in recognition of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme that was implemented the same year. At that time ISA was the only school in Scotland to offer the IB Diploma to its senior students. In December 2005, in the midst of on-going construction work to add a new gymnasium and theatre complex, the school was notified by the Scottish Government that a major roadworks project was being planned to run through the Fairgirth property. In August 2010 the International School of Aberdeen moved into its new, purpose-built campus at Pitfodels House. [1]


In August 2010 the International School of Aberdeen moved into a new purpose-built campus.

The International School of Aberdeen is located on the outskirts of the village of Cults, three miles west of Aberdeen. The school campus is 11 acres on the north side of the Dee River Valley. The school is set off the road on a wooded site.

The school consists of the Grade 2 listed ‘Pitfodels House’ and the attached purpose-built facility. The main school building has a large entrance foyer and 'Street' that connects the teaching area with a multi-level Library/Media Centre, a 350-seat theatre, a 'Black Box' theatre, cafeteria and sports complex.

The two teaching wings consist of a total of 40 general classrooms. Additionally, there are 5 science labs, 5 computer labs, 3 Performing Arts rooms (band, choir & drama), specialist EAL and Learning Support rooms and 2 art studios, as well as offices and meeting rooms.

ISA's sporting facilities include two gymnasiums, a fitness suite, a multi-purpose dance/exercise room, an 8m 'natural rock' climbing wall and a 25m, six-lane swimming pool. Outside, the school has two FIFA grade, all-weather playing fields and two tennis courts.

Within the grounds there are outdoor learning spaces, including a nature pond/wetland area. The Preschool includes an enclosed playground and there is an adventure playground. A feature of the school's landscape is the Victorian tower that stands in the main courtyard. There are a variety of outbuildings used for storage and custodial workshops.

ISA complies with all UK and European building codes and health and safety requirements. The school employs two Health and Safety Officers. The school has 3 lifts and is handicapped accessible with the exception of the first floor of Pitfodels House.[2]


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Coordinates: 57°6′10″N 2°14′41″W / 57.10278°N 2.24472°W / 57.10278; -2.24472