Aberdeen Grammar School

Aberdeen Grammar School
"The Grammar" (geograph 3387889).jpg
Skene Street

AB10 1HT

Coordinates57°08′49″N 2°06′54″W / 57.1468581°N 2.115042°W / 57.1468581; -2.115042Coordinates: 57°08′49″N 2°06′54″W / 57.1468581°N 2.115042°W / 57.1468581; -2.115042
TypeSecondary school
MottoBon Record
Establishedc. 1257; 765 years ago (1257)
Local authorityAberdeen City Council
RectorAlison Murison (2015–present)
Staff77 (2018)
GenderCoeducational (all boys previously)
Age11 to 18
Enrolment1,120 (2018)
Houses Byron
Keith and Dun
Colour(s)Blue, Red, White
AlumniAberdeen Grammar School Former Pupils Club
WebsiteAberdeen Grammar School

Aberdeen Grammar School is a state secondary school in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is one of thirteen secondary schools run by the Aberdeen City Council educational department.

It is the oldest school in the city and one of the oldest grammar schools in the United Kingdom, with a history spanning more than 750 years. Founded around 1257, the year used in official school records, it began operating as a boys' school. On Skene Street, near the centre of the city, it was originally situated on Schoolhill, near the current site of Robert Gordon's College. It moved to its current site in 1863, and became co-educational in 1973.

In an annual survey run by the British broadsheet newspaper The Times, Aberdeen Grammar was rated the 15th best Scottish state secondary school in 2019, and second in Aberdeen behind Cults Academy.

The most notable former student is Lord Byron, the Romantic poet and writer who spent a short amount of time at the school before his move back to England as a 10 year old. A statue of him was erected in the front courtyard of the school. Alumni include Scottish international footballer Russell Anderson, mathematician Hector Munro Macdonald,


Early history

The school coat of arms
A certificate awarded to a pupil in 1915 for success in Maths, English, Greek, Latin, and French.

The exact date of the school's founding is unknown; however, research done to mark the school's 750th anniversary led to the belief it was formed in c. 1257, which is the date that is now used for official school purposes. The earliest documented date of its existence is in the Burgh Records of 1418, when the Lord Provost and Council nominated John Homyll to replace the recently deceased Andrew of Chivas as "Master of the Schools". Originally on Schoolhill, near the site of the current Robert Gordon's College, the curriculum consisted of Latin, Greek and ancient geography.

In 1580, new pupils were reprimanded, under the penalty of £10, if they did not show good behaviour or did not listen to their Magistrates or masters. In 1612, the pupils, many of whom were related to the gentry in the country, rioted with pistols and hagbuts, and took over part of the school. The masters stopped the riot, and 21 pupils were expelled, while some were arrested.

Recent history

In 1986, the original building was devastated by a fire, destroying most of the rooms including the large library, a collection of Byron's notebooks, the trophy room and other classrooms, although the historic facade was mostly undamaged.

The modular building that was painted pink as part of a prank on "muck-up day" in 2002

The school and FPs club own the 18-acre (73,000 m2) Rubislaw Playing Fields at a site about a mile away from the main school building. Shared with the former pupils' club, the location has rugby union pitches with a stand, football pitches, grass hockey pitches and an artificial hockey pitch built in 2005.

In recent years the school has been the site of a number of newsworthy events, including a protest against PETA, the painting pink of an entire temporary classroom block, and a bomb threat.

The school marked its 750th anniversary year in 2007 with a series of fund-raising events, the proceeds of which went towards buying a new school minibus. Also in 2007, work was completed on a new gymnasium, begun two years previously.

In February 2019, the school was shut for a suspected gas leak.

Present day

Today the school is run by Aberdeen City Council in accordance with the Scottish Executive's educational guidelines for state schools. In the 2013/14 academic year, the education of each pupil at the Grammar School specifically cost £4,252.

In the session 2018–2019, 61% of leavers received a qualification equivalent of five Highers or more. Furthermore, 83% gained 5 or more National 5s and 27% gained 2 or more Advanced Highers.

Pupils and catchment area

About 1100 pupils attend the school each year, between the ages of about 11 to 18. The school's catchment area centres on the west end of the city, including Rosemount and Mannofield. There are four main primary schools that feed into the school, located throughout the centre and west-end of Aberdeen: Ashley Road Primary School, Gilcomstoun Primary School, Mile-End School and Skene Square Primary School . Under the Parent's Charter, children from other areas can attend the school after successful application by parents. Places using this method are limited for each year.

Colour System & Achievements

There are three main colour awards given. The first, 'Bronze Colours', is issued in the third year of the school. It is represented by a red ribbon on the breast pocket of the school blazer. It requires two years of participation in the chosen activity to be eligible for this level of colours.

The second, 'Silver Colours' are awarded in fifth or sixth year, which is represented by a light blue tie (replacing the navy, red and white tie). Pupils must be participating in the activity throughout fourth and fifth year to be able to get this award.

The third, 'Gold Colours' is the final level of the colours system. It is represented by a ribbon outlining the rims of the school blazer. Pupils must demonstrate a very high level of attainment, performance and achievement to be eligible for this award, usually having to performing internationally.


The rector is the head of the school. Records show there were 26 rectors between 1418 and 1881.

Name Incumbency
DM Andrew 1924–1942
Henry Fife Morland Simpson 1893–1920
Rev Dr William Barrack 1860 to 1868

Notable alumni and teachers

This page was last updated at 2022-11-15 11:04 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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