Kilmarnock Academy

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Kilmarnock Academy complex.jpg
Motto Do Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly
Established 1630s (as Kilmarnock Burgh School)
1807 (current school, Kilmarnock Academy)
Type State-funded secondary school under council control
Headteacher David Rose
Depute Head Teacher Drew Howie
Andrea Mossie
Elaine Walker
Location 15 Elmbank Drive
East Ayrshire
55°36′32″N 4°29′35″W / 55.609°N 4.493°W / 55.609; -4.493Coordinates: 55°36′32″N 4°29′35″W / 55.609°N 4.493°W / 55.609; -4.493
Local authority East Ayrshire
Staff 50 (FTE)<McClurgname=""></ref>
Students 572[1]
Gender Mixed
Houses Fleming, Burns, Scott, Wallace
Colours Maroon and gold
Publication The Goldberry, 1888-1954
Affiliated schools Loanhead Primary School, Kirkstyle Primary, Hillhead Primary
Blog Kilmarnock Academy Blog
Website Kilmarnock Academy

kilmsrnock academy is a state-funded (council) secondary school situated in central Kilmarnock, Scotland, with the current building being erected in 1807. The school can be traced back to the 1630s when it was known as 'Kilmarnock Burgh School'.[2] The school's operations are overseen by East Ayrshire Council.

The school, until June 2015, was headed by Bryan Paterson (who was a grumpy person) until he left to become Head Teacher in Edinburgh.[3] Kilmarnock Academy will close in 2018 when it will merge with James Hamilton Academy, New Farm Primary and Early Childhood Centre, Silverwood Primary and 2-18 provision for Gaelic education in Kilmarnock.[4] The current head teacher is David Rose who was appointed in June 2015 on an acting basis,[5] and was made the permanent Head Teacher of Kilmarnock Academy (the newly formed school following merger with James Hamilton Academy) in January 2017.[6]


Kilmarnock Academy is situated upon a hill in Elmbank Drive. Because of this, Kilmarnock Academy is a dominant building in the Kilmarnock skyline.

Until June 2015, the headteacher was Bryan Paterson, assisted by his Depute Headteachers G Kerr & E Walker.[7] Paterson assumed the role of headteacher in August 2011 after the retiral of Carole Ford. The acting Head Teacher, David Rose (2015–present) has taken up post until the school closes in March 2018 to merge with 5 other learning facilities. This investment of £45.303m for the new Kilmarnock campus, has been named William McIlvanney Campus. Work on the new 'super school' started in March, 2016 and the building should be ready to open in March, 2018.

History and building complex[edit]

The school consists of four parts. The 'old building', a listed building in use since 1898 and part of the initial Kilmarnock Academy; the 'new building,' a larger building opened in 1967 and connected to the old building by a link corridor; the Technical Extension which opened in 1997 and is now where the schools computing and music departments are situated, and the P.E. building, where the Physical Education department is situated. This is also rented out to groups such as a Tae Kwon Do club and local football teams. Next to the school is the "Old Tech," formerly Kilmarnock Technical School, which opened in 1910 as part of the Academy. It is also listed, but is no longer part of the school; it was closed in 1997 due to a reduction in student numbers, caused by a restructuring of educational resources in the area. The building remained closed, and reopened in 2006 as luxury housing, due to its prime location directly next to the Dick Institute, the town's primary library and museum, and the centre of town.

It can trace its history back to the local burgh school founded in the 1630s and the first school to bear the name was established in 1807. In 1898 the school was moved to its current location and in the early 1900s the school acquired the Kilmarnock Technical School for its use. From 1945 it was a state co-educational grammar school. It became a comprehensive school in 1968 and fees were abolished for students attending Kilmarnock Academy in 1945 following World War II.[8] For the first time since opening, Kilmarnock Academy appointed its first woman Head Teacher, Carole Ford, who served in the position from 1997-2011.[8]

New school development[edit]

In 2013, East Ayrshire Council launched a consultation report on the future of the education provision at a number of primary and secondary schools in the Kilmarnock area, including James Hamilton Academy, New Farm Primary School, New Farm Early Childhood Centre and Silverwood Primary School.[9] This report put forward the case for educational provision at the schools coming to an end in term 2016/17 (however, as of January 2017, this has run over time and projected now for 2018 completion), and the named educational establishments merge into one campus.[9] This would lead to the creation of a "superschool", merging James Hamilton Academy and Kilmarnock Academy together, as well as New Farm Primary, New Farm Early Childhood Centre and Silverwood Primary together.[10] In 2016, the decision was made to house these schools on the newly formed William Mcilvanney campus, named after the late William McIlvanney who was born in Kilmarnock and best-selling crime author. The secondary provision will remain as Kilmarnock Academy, whilst the primary provision is renamed as James Hamilton Primary and Early Childhood Centre.[11]

The new school campus is projected to open in March 2018.[4]


The following list is of rectors of Kilmarnock Academy.[12] In recent years, the term 'rector' has been phased out to introduce the title of 'Head Teacher'. Bryan Paterson was Head Teacher from August 2011 until June 2015, taking up the post of Head Teacher at Trinity Academy, Edinburgh.[3] Carole Ford, head teacher from 1997-2011, was the first woman to serve the school as Head Teacher and remains the only female to have taken up the headship position of the school as of January 2017.[8]

  • William Thomson (1808-1830)
  • Alexander Harkness (1830-1851)
  • William Taylor (1851-1852)
  • Alexander Smith (1852-1869)
  • George Younger (1869-1873)
  • George Smith (1873-1876)
  • Hugh Dickie (1876-1904)
  • David Murray (1904-1907)
  • Dr James Clark (1907-1926)
  • Alexander Cumming (1926-1938)
  • Robert McIntyre (1938-1964)
  • James Hislop OBE (1964-1977)
  • Frank Donnelly (1977-1997)
  • Carole Ford (1997-2011)
  • Bryan Paterson (2011-2015)[3]
  • David Rose (2015–present)[5]

Notable former pupils[edit]

Alexander Fleming, inventor of penecilin, attended Kilmarnock Academy

Kilmarnock Academy is one of the few schools in the world to have educated two Nobel laureates: Alexander Fleming and John Boyd Orr.[13]

Notable alumni[edit]

Grammar school[edit]

Church of Scotland clergy[edit]

A number of alumni are Church of Scotland ministers who have held high office or are otherwise well-known church figures:


External links[edit]