Dollar Academy
Dollar Academy is the world's oldest co-educational boarding school, with a 70-acre (280,000 m 2) campus set in the shadow of the Ochil Hills in the village of Dollar, Clackmannanshire. Founded in 1818 by Captain John McNabb, it is one of Britain's largest independent schools, with 1,400 pupils on its rolls from the ages of 5 to 18, and one of the few Scottish independent schools situated outside of Edinburgh and Glasgow. While it has a reputation as one of the sportiest schools in Britain, it is, according to The Scotsman , Scotland's best-performing school academically, with 95% of Fifth Years passing three or more Highers in 2007. The national average is just 22%.

There are over 1300 pupils at Dollar (making it the fourth largest independent school in Scotland), divided into three separate schools: the Prep School (Preps I to V for ages 5”“10), the Junior School (Juniors I and II for ages 10”“12) and the Senior School (Forms I to VI for ages 12 going on 18). About 90 pupils are boarders; the rest are day pupils, either from the village of Dollar itself or from the surrounding counties of Clackmannanshire, Stirling, Perth and Kinross and Fife. Dollar Academy is also well known for its high number of international pupils. Around about 1/3 of the male boarders have their home in other countries than Scotland. Dollar is the 7th most expensive school in Scotland (after Loretto, Gordonstoun, Glenalmond, Fettes, Merchiston and Strathallan) and therefore the most expensive Scottish school which follows the Scottish curriculum (the more expensive 6 offering A-levels or the International Baccalaureate). The school also has a small but significant international intake: one of the school's slogans is "Scottish and International". The school follows the Scottish education system, with pupils sitting a mixture of Standard Grades and Intermediates at the end of FIV and Highers at the end of FV/VI. Though most courses in FVI are at Advanced Higher level, some subjects are studied to A levels. Like Winchester and Eton the school is trialling the Cambridge Pre-U in some subjects. In the 19th century, Dollar pupils sat the Cambridge Examinations or the Indian Civil Service Examinations. It was pioneering in its teaching of science at a time when most private schools followed an exclusively classical education.

Dollar was founded in 1818 at the behest of John McNab or McNabb, a merchant and slave trader, who bequeathed part of his fortune - £65,000 - to provide "a charity or school for the poor of the parish of Dollar where I was born". McNabb died in 1802 but it took another sixteen years before the school opened its doors after much debate about how to use the bequest. Curiously in the 19th century the school had a strong emphasis on horticulture, and pupils were each allocated plots on the extensive school grounds. Several curious rarities exist in the school grounds in arboricultural terms, including several sequoias. McNabb's ashes rest above the Bronze Doors of the Playfair Building. The school was originally known as "The Dollar Institution" and until the introduction of compulsory primary education in 1887, provided free education for local children who could not afford to pay. Those who could afford it paid on a "sliding scale". The original campus was landscaped into several gardens including two ponds. Dollar's first Rector was The Revd Dr Andrew Mylne. The school has a sound academic reputation, and is known for its rugby team. They have won the Bell Lawrie Scottish Schools Under-18 cup three times, in 2003, 2004 and 2005. They were also finalists in 2007 but were defeated by Bell Baxter High School. The school also has a well-known pipe band. The band has won the Scottish Schools Combined Cadet Force Pipes and Drums competition eleven years running since the year 2000. Its CCF ( Combined Cadet Force) is also very strong, having won the Scottish military skills competition for the last three years. The school is also the first Scottish school to win the Ashburton Shield at Bisley. Music is also one of the school's strong points.

  • The Revd Dr Andrew Mylne (1818”“1850)
  • The Revd Dr Thomas Burbidge (1850”“1851)
  • The Revd John Milne (1851”“1868)
  • The Revd Dr William Barrack (1868”“1878)
  • George Thom (1878”“1902)
  • Charles Dougall (1902”“1923)
  • Hugh Martin (1923”“1936)
  • Harry Bell (1936”“1960)
  • James Millar (1960”“1962) - Acting Rector
  • Graham Richardson (1962”“1975)
  • Ian Hendry (1975”“1984)
  • Lloyd Harrison (1984”“1994)
  • John Robertson (1994”“2010)
  • David Knapman (2010”“present)

Prize Day speakers
This list is incomplete, and lists speakers from 1949 to the present. The suffix FP denotes a former pupil of the Academy.

Exam results
The Academy has consistently been ranked as one of the top schools in Scotland academically, and was named best-performing school in Scotland in 2007 by The Scotsman, with 95% of Fifth Years passing three or more Highers, up from 85% the year before. It is consistently high in league tables of Scottish schools (out of over 400 schools coming 2nd place in 2001 for Highers, 4th place in 2005 for Highers and 2nd place in 2006 for Advanced Highers, and 1st in 2007 for Highers), with 97% of FIV passing five or more Standard Grades at level 4 or better, and 95% of FV passing 3 or more Highers. In Music and Biotechnology, 100% of candidates achieved a grade a at Higher in 2006. 97% achieved grade a at Higher in Art. At Advanced Higher 100% of candidates achieved grade A in Music. There has been consistently 100% pass rate for Mathematics and English at Standard Grade. In 2007, over a quarter of all FV pupils achieved 5 straight as at Higher. There was a 95% pass rate at Higher (the highest in Scotland and in the school's history), 50% of which were A passes. The Governors' Bursary of £500 is awarded to those pupils who attain 5 As at band 1 at Higher.

The principal school building was designed by renowned Scottish architect William Henry Playfair with its characteristic "bronze doors". The interior of the Playfair building was gutted by a fire in 1961, but Playfair's Greek-style facade remained intact and the school was re-opened in 1963 by former pupil Lord Heyworth and visited by The Queen and Prince Philip. The assembly hall dates from the 1960s rebuild. The school library is a " whispering gallery" because of its domed ceiling. The school was visited by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1978. There are numerous other buildings on the campus, including the Dewar Building for science, the Younger Building for mathematics and business studies, the Gibson Building for music, the Iona Building for home economics and the most recently built Maguire Building for sport, art and drama. There are also several rugby, hockey, cricket and football pitches, and tennis courts. Sport is supported by the Boys' and Girls' pavilions, the Games Hall and the swimming pool in addition to the Maguire Building.

Boarding Houses
There is space for 75 boarders in the Academy's three boarding houses, all situated close to the school in Victorian houses in the village. Boarding at Dollar was highly commended by a recent HMIe inspection. Both weekly boarders (Monday - Friday) and full boarders are accepted.
  • Argyll House - Girls aged 8”“18
  • Heyworth House - Girls aged 8”“18
  • McNabb-Tait House - Boys aged 8”“18
Though the majority of pupils do not board, every pupil belongs to a House (girls) or corresponding Quint (boys). Originally there were five boys' houses, instituted in 1911, hence the Dollarism "quint". The Quint Cup and House Cup are awarded annually at Prize-Giving. Today there are four Houses/Quints:

Female (Houses) and Male (Quints)
  • Atholl ( Red)
  • Mar ( Yellow)
  • Stewart ( Royal Blue)
  • Argyll ( Green)
Old Academicals' children are traditionally put into the same house as their Father/Mother/Brother/Sister. The names of Quints and houses were merged in 2009; previously, male quints followed the names: Castle (Atholl), Devon (Mar), Glen (Stewart), and Hill (Argyll). The fifth male Quint was McNabb (orange) but this was dropped in 1937.

The School Day
The school day begins at 8.45 am, when pupils must be in Registration in their Form Tutor Groups to be registered at the beginning of each day. In each year there are around 8 or 9 such classes, each of about 17-20 pupils. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays pupils attend Morning Assembly from 9.00 am to 9.15 am. This consists of an academic parade, a hymn, a bible reading and a prayer, followed by announcements about the forthcoming days. On Tuesdays and Thursdays there is extended registration which lasts until 9.10 am, with classes starting five minutes earlier than usual. There are five periods in the day, each lasting one hour. First period begins at 9.15 am and finishes and 10.15 am, and is followed by second period which ends at 11.15 am. Between 11.15 am and 11.30 am is morning break (there is extended break on a Friday lasting an extra five minutes). Third period is from 11.30 am to 12.30 am, and is followed by lunch, which finishes at 1.25 pm. Fourth and fifth period follow, ending at 3.25 pm. Buses leave Dollar at 3.35 pm. After-school activities usually take place between 3.30 pm and 4.45 pm. 'Late buses' leave Dollar at 5.15 pm.

Each year Full Colours and Half Colours are awarded to senior pupils for achievement in sporting or cultural pursuits. These awards merit piping on the school blazer (blue for cultural, white for sporting) and/or a distinctive blazer badge. Sixth-year pupils are also given a distinctive silver tie, and prefects wear white and blue bands round the blazer sleeves. The Senior Six (or "Top Six") are the most senior prefects in the school, elected by a ballot of Forms IV, V and VI. A number of those with the highest numbers of votes go through to the "College of Cardinals", among whom a Head Boy, Head Girl and two deputies for each are elected. Two school songs were composed in 1912, but neither was officially adopted. "Here in a Fair Green Valley..." by the poet W. K. Holmes and music by Marc Anthony became the official school song sung at prize-giving each year between 1929-1993. This was then replaced by the Academy Hymn, "O God of Bethel!" until 2007, when the popularity and metaphorical significance of "Will Your Anchor Hold?" (Hymn 412) caused it to be adopted for this purpose. The hymn is known as the "Dollar Anthem" and is often sung at rugby matches including the Scottish Cup Final. The Commemoration of the Founder is said by the Head Boy and Head Girl at prize-giving: Other traditional events in the school calendar include: annual Christmas Dances, Form VI Dinner, Burns' Supper (Form VI), the Summer Ball (Form VI), the Junior Musical, the Senior Musical, the Sixth Form Play, the Christmas Carol Concert, the Teddy Bears' Picnic (Prep School), Prep School Sports Day, Sports Weekend and the biennial Sponsored Walk, which raised over £48,000 in 2007 for various charities.

Old Academicals

Notable former teachers
  • William Tennant (1784”“1848), linguist and poet (Master of Classical and Oriental Languages)
  • Patrick Syme (1774”“1845), artist (Art Master)
  • George Paxton Young (1818”“1889), philosopher (Mathematics Master)
  • Andrew Bell (1753”“1832), educationalist and divine (Mathematics Master)
  • Andrew Crawfurd (1787”“1868), antiquarian and doctor (Chair of Natural Philosophy)
  • Patrick Gibson (1782”“1829), landscape painter (Professor of Painting)


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