Aberdeen Grammar School
Aberdeen Grammar School, known to students as The Grammar is a state secondary school in the City of Aberdeen, Scotland. It is one of twelve secondary schools run by the Aberdeen City Council educational department. It is the oldest in the city and one of the oldest grammar schools in the United Kingdom, with a history spanning 750 years. Founded around 1257, the year used in official school records, it began operating as a school only for boys. Located on Skene Street, near the centre of the city, it was originally situated on Schoolhill, close to the current site of Robert Gordon's College. It moved to its current site in 1863, and became co-educational in 1973. From 1970”“1977 it was known as Rubislaw Academy, after the nearby Rubislaw area of Aberdeen. In an annual survey run by the British broadsheet newspaper The Times , Aberdeen Grammar was rated the 12th best Scottish state secondary school in 2007, and second in Aberdeen behind Cults Academy. The most notable alumnus is Lord Byron, the Romantic poet and writer. A statue of him was erected in the front courtyard of the school. Other alumni include Scottish international footballer Russell Anderson and mathematician Hector Munro Macdonald.

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 got involved and stopped the riot, and 21 pupils were expelled, while some were arrested. From 1861”“1863, the school moved to its current location on Skene Street. A large granite building in Scottish baronial style was constructed and officially opened on 23 October 1863. This allowed expansion of the curriculum to include English, mathematics, modern languages, art and gymnastics. Other buildings and extensions have been added to the 1863 building since it was built. These include the Modern Language Block (originally a primary school) and the 1960s modern design: west-wing science block, theatre and the dining hall. Originally a fee-paying boys' school it became a council grammar school and then a comprehensive academy in 1970. It became co-educational after the summer of 1973 when girls were first admitted. 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 façade was mostly undamaged. The school was rebuilt over many years, with modern facilities, while pupils studied in temporary classrooms in the playground. These Portakabins were used by the English and Art Departments. The school and FPs club own the 18-acre (73,000 m 2) 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 Astroturf 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, most recently, 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, after beginning two years previous. The new building is a stark contrast to the remainder of the school, as it has a modern interior compared with the old granite. The building at the Rubislaw Playing Fields was also refurbished in 2008 in much the same style as the gym, and was extended to include four extra changing rooms and a reception area. The motto is Bon Record. This is not to be confused with that of the City of Aberdeen" Bon Accord"which was first heard of in 1308, over 50 years after the school was founded.

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 1998”“99 academic year, the education of each pupil at the Grammar School specifically cost £2,690. This is however much less than today, when Aberdeen City Council spent an average of £5,834 per secondary school pupil as a whole in its authority during the 2005”“2006 session.

Subjects and qualifications
The curriculum is much the same as used for the rest of the Scottish state secondary schools, and provides for a wide range of subjects. Pupils are presented for Standard Grade, Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2, Higher and Advanced Higher examinations through the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). An emphasis is on the more traditional subjects such as mathematics, English and modern languages. French and German are taught at the school, but Spanish was discontinued in 2006 due to shortage of staff. Also taught are subject areas such as craft, design and technology, business studies and the social subjects ”“ modern studies, history and geography. To conform to government health and fitness regimes, each year must spend two school periods (1 hour 45 minutes usually) per week at the Rubislaw Playing Fields with their year. This is not an optional area of the course, until the sixth and final year. However, in this year it can be selected as an additional subject which is not in any columns on the choice form. The sporting year is split into winter and summer games, with the outdoor sports concentrated on in summer and the indoor in winter. The range of sports covered in the course include rugby, football, hockey, softball, cricket, swimming,tennis and basket ball. In the session 2006”“2007, 43% of fifth- and sixth-year pupils received a qualification equivalent of five Highers or more"a 3% increase on the previous year. It is now ranked 12th equal in Scotland for these qualifications. Furthermore, 64% of fourth-years gained a Standard Grade at Credit level"an increase of 4%. The school is currently ranked 10th in this field. In an annual survey run by the British broadsheet newspaper The Times, Aberdeen Grammar was rated the 19th best Scottish state secondary school in 2005 based on exam results, rising to 16th in 2006 and, most recently, 12th in 2007.

Pupils and catchment area
About 1160 attend the school each year, between the ages of about 11 to 18. The school's catchment area centres around the west-end of the city, including Rosemount and Mannofield. There are five 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, Skene Square Primary School and St. Joseph's Primary School (a Roman Catholic faith school). Under the Parent's Charter, children from other areas can attend the school after successful application by parents. However, places using this method are limited for each year.

Houses and extra-curricular activities
When starting school pupils are allocated into one of the three houses in the school. These three houses are Byron, Keith-Dun and Melvin. The house system is limited to mostly sporting events, but the system was revised recently to bring the tradition of school houses back into the everyday running of the school. Competitions take place between houses, particularly in sport, during the annual inter-house games afternoons. These take place during the month just before Easter where houses compete in rugby, football and hockey. Recently, under the new rector, other activities have been included into house competitions. The system is also used to identify pupils' register classes. The school has a strong sporting tradition, and has a particular emphasis on boys' rugby union and girls' hockey. There is a strong link to the former pupils club, who provide extra coaching on some games afternoons and with whom many pupils continue to play for once they leave school. The school has several successful teams, including football, hockey and rugby sides, and in basketball the school has a strong team linked to the former pupils Greywolves team. There is also representation in golf, swimming, badminton, tennis and netball. The school encourages certain maverick elements through the publication of a self funded sixth year magazine. In this regard groups of pupils - editors - have devised, secured the finance, edited and published annual obscurely named journals (Sagsagas, The Ulimate Deterrent, 100 Degrees Proof, X5 W/D) for sale to the school. Current technology obscures the challenges that this presented in the pre-digital age. Regardless of which, each year produced a profit to support the funding of the subsequent publication. Despite the underground nature of the venture many editors subsequently became establshment figures in the law, politics, medicine and academia. In keeping with embracing the Scottish Liberal tradition the school's oldest "great offices" are President of the Literary and Debating Society and President of the Dramatic Society. Although colours are usually restricted to sporting prowess in Rugby and Hockey. The dramatic society has often benefited from external expertise and inspired internal leadership that have resulted in beyond the expectation and years of their young performers. From Waiting for Godot in 1972, Journeys End in 1976, Our Town 1976 and others, the production values were as high as the personal rewards to the pupils and staff who participated. A yearly school musical is performed by the Face the Music society; recent performances include Grease, Annie Get Your Gun and Snork ”“ a locally written musical. A solely pupil-run theatre group performs each year as part of the Pied Piper society. There are musical evenings twice a year that showcase the school's musical talent. There is a concert band, jazz band, junior and senior choirs and a string orchestra. Lessons are available in brass, woodwind, strings, piano, guitar and percussion, and every pupil is educated in music as part of their curriculum. Also in the school is a successful debating club, open to all pupils. It is widely regarded as the schools most popular extra-curricular activity. The club meets weekly in the school's lecture theatre, split into two different age categories"juniors and seniors"and argue over predefined motions to match the pupils interests. Participants in each category are given opportunities to represent the school, competing nationally in different tournaments. One of the unique features up until the 1980's was a weekly film club. This pre-dating of home video and DVD offered the opportunity for pupils and their guests to view out of run films in a professional presentation. The personal enthusiasm of Archie Baxter; a long serving teacher, led to the school being the only one in the UK vapable of offering anachromatic lens projection (Cinemascope) and commercial sound capability. End of terms traditonally involved some film presentation. The Aberdeen Grammar School concert band have achieved an immense amount over the past few years; their most recent accolade was a Platinum award at the Scottish Regional Festival of The National Concert band Festival. In 2009 they won a Gold award at the National Concert Band Festival in Cardiff. They also gained Gold awards at the Scottish Regional Festivals of 2007,2008 & 2009. The school has a large and active Former Pupils' Club, which has members all over the world and a clubhouse at Queens Road opposite the extensive Rubislaw Playing Fields. The club is home to the largest selection of sports clubs in Aberdeen. These include the Scottish Premier Division rugby team and the Aberdeen GSFP RFC, who play at Rubislaw Playing Fields.

There have been many rectors who have headed the school.

Notable alumni and teachers

Name Incumbency Legge, Graham ! Graham Legge 2004”“present Johnston, William ! William Johnston 1987”“2004 Gill, Robert ! Robert Gill 1972”“1987 Skinner, John Vass ! Dr John Vass Skinner 1959”“1972 Robertson, James J. ! Sir James J. Robertson 1942”“1959