Kirkcudbright Academy

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Kirkcudbright Academy
St Marys Wynd

, ,

Coordinates54°50′07″N 4°03′28″W / 54.8353°N 4.0577°W / 54.8353; -4.0577Coordinates: 54°50′07″N 4°03′28″W / 54.8353°N 4.0577°W / 54.8353; -4.0577
MottoRadicem Firmant Frondes (from the roots comes strength)
EstablishedBy 1582
School districtKirkcudbrightshire
RectorMr A Tuffery

Kirkcudbright Academy is a state funded, six-year secondary school in Kirkcudbright, Scotland with about 450 pupils and 87 staff including teaching, support and administration.[1][2][3]


There is no definitive date for the founding of the Grammar School that, over time, evolved into today's Kirkcudbright Academy. It is possible that the Grammar School owes its origin to the Church of Scotland's 1560 First Book of Discipline that set out a plan for a school in every parish in Scotland. This plan was not universally successful due to financial limitations but it did result in the creation of some grammar schools in the following years. However, the Grammar School may even have existed in some form prior to this date as there were also cases of pre-existing schools being turned into reformed grammar schools by this initiative. The earliest actual evidence of its existence are Council Records that state that on 6 June 1582, the Magistrates and Council "appoint William Turner, schoolmaster, to teach the grammar school, with salary of 50 merks, to be paid quarterly - viz., Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, and Hallowe'en - and they to find him a sufficient schoolhouse, mail free."

The Grammar School stood on the grounds of St. Andrew's Church, the site of the present Roman Catholic Church, which was given to the burgh by Sir Thomas M'Lellan (the Provost) for the Freres Kirk and orchards, on which site he built his castle, the present ruin.

The school at this time was supported by a combination of kirk funds, contributions from the burgh council and charging parents fees. Education was focussed on the classics but it is possible that other subjects such as French and catechism were taught. It is recorded that pupils, many of whom were boarders, came from a much wider area of Scotland and England with records of a concentration coming from Liverpool and its surrounding areas.

In 1815, the Grammar School amalgamated with two other schools, the English School and the Commercial School to form the Academy of Kirkcudbright. This consolidated school needed more accommodation and so it moved to a new building on the current site in 1818. The accommodation initially consisted of three large class rooms entered from a spacious porch.

An interesting insight into education in the newly formed Academy in 1843 was provided by the Church of Scotland’s New Statistical Account of Scotland which provided a review of every Scottish Parish. It reports that “The Grammar, the Commercial, and the English schools, are united, and form the Academy of Kirkcudbright. This institution is under the patronage of the magistrates and town-council, and the salaries of the masters are paid by the burgh. There are nearly 200 pupils constantly attending the academy, and the fees for one branch of education vary from 2s. to 7s. 6d. per quarter. In the classical departments are taught Latin, Greek, and French, with ancient geography, &c. Attached to the grammar school is a library consisting of between 300 and 400 volumes of useful literature. It was instituted by the present master in 1837. The teacher of the grammar school is allowed a yearly salary of L.50; and he realizes by fees about L.60. In the commercial department are taught mathematics, navigation, geography, book-keeping, arithmetic, writing, &c. The teacher receives a salary of L.50; and his annual fees amount to about L.90. The master of the English school has a yearly salary of L.40; and his fees on an average amount to L.60. In this class are taught history, geography, composition, and the principles of the English language. The Academy of Kirkcudbright has long maintained a high reputation."

With the passing of the Education (Scotland) Act 1872, the Academy came under the management of the newly created Kirkcudbright School Board. This Act brought in compulsory education for all children between 5 and 13 in Scotland although fees still had to be paid until 1890.

The next 2 major developments occurred in 1901: the first was the minimum school leaving age was raised to 14; the second resulted from the Kirkcudbright School Board's decision to raise the Academy to the rank of a secondary school. In order to achieve this the school needed to create science and art departments so during 1901 an entire reconstruction of the school was carried out to provide those departments with properly equipped accommodation. The only parts of the original building left after this work were the front portions of the south and north wings.

This accommodation was subsequently substantially remodelled in 1926 which resulted in the Old School building that exists today. A series of subsequent extensions in the second half of the 20th Century have resulted in the newer buildings built to the West.

Notable alumni[edit]

As a side note:

These mean that half of all the Scottish drivers who have ever won a Formula One race (50% - 2 out of 4) and a quarter of all the Scots who have ever captained the British and Irish Lions (25% - 2 out of 8) were pupils at Kirkcudbright Academy

Notable staff[edit]


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  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)