Harris Academy is a co-educational comprehensive school in the West End of Dundee, Scotland. Harris Academy was founded in 1885 and is the oldest public school in Dundee. Harris Academy is also the largest state run school in Dundee in terms of number of pupils and the school campus building and is known for being one of the most successful schools in Dundee and Scotland by record of attainment and exam result successes which are considered 'well above average'.[3]

Harris Academy
Perth Road

Coordinates56°27′22″N 3°00′32″W / 56.456°N 3.009°W / 56.456; -3.009Coordinates: 56°27′22″N 3°00′32″W / 56.456°N 3.009°W / 56.456; -3.009
MottoSpe et labore
By hope and work
Established31 August 1885[1]
FounderWilliam Harris
Local authorityDundee
RectorBarry Millar [2]
Staff107 (as of 2013-14)
Colour(s)Maroon, Gold, Black

Over the course of its history, Harris Academy has been housed at three different locations across the city in Park Place, Perth Road and Lawton Road temporally, with its permanent campus based on Perth Road.


The school is situated in the west of Dundee, north of the railway line, the A85 and Dundee Airport. The University of Dundee Botanic Garden is nearby to the west.

List of rectorsEdit

Tenure Rector
1885-1909 James Brebner[4]
1909-1930 James B. Robb[5]
1930-1950 Alexander Peterkin[6][7]
1950-1969 A.E. Hope[4]
1969-1985 James Hamilton[4]
1985-1997 Andrew Johnstone
1997-2015 James Thewliss
2015-2016 Angela White (acting)
2016–present Barry Millar[2]


Harris Academy has a house system which allocates each pupil to one of four houses, named Birnam, Cawdor, Forres and Kinloch. The former three come from houses in William Shakespeare's "Macbeth". The latter comes from the name of George Kinloch, former MP and reformer in Dundee and from the village of Kinloch. Each of the houses has an associated colour, Birnam - Red, Cawdor - Yellow, Forres - Green, Kinloch - Blue. Each house competes against each other in Interhouse competitions; both sporting and academic. They receive points for their success, and at the end of the year, the points are totalled to declare the winner of the house championship, only the years since 2004 have been listed:

School year House winner
2004-05 Kinloch
2007-08 Forres
2008-09 Kinloch
2013-14 Birnam
2015-16 Kinloch
2016-17 Cawdor
2017-18 Birnam


William Harris (pictured) founded Harris Academy in 1885

Harris Academy was established on 31 August 1885 through a bequest from corn-merchant and mill owner William Harris. The original building was in Park Place designed by Dundee architect James Ireland.[8] A replacement school was designed by Patrick Thoms in 1926,[9] taking several years to complete: the school moved to its present site on Perth Road on 21 April 1931.

Harris Academy was a selective secondary school until it became a comprehensive in 1973. The last intake to its Primary Department was August 1955.

Harris Academy moved to Lawton Road in 2013 as its former Perth Road building gets revamped. On 22 June 2015, it was announced that Menzieshill High School would shut down and pupils are to transfer to Harris Academy in 2016 when the new Perth Road building is completed. 18 councillors voted in favour for Menzieshill High School to close with 14 councillors against the closure. In June 2016 the pupils from Menzieshill high were then forced to move to the newly built Harris Academy. Which was a hard move for all who too part in the move.


The uniform of Harris Academy is a three button blazer in maroon with the school badge embroidered on the left front pocket. It is compulsory for pupils to wear a white shirt with black trousers or skirt but not the maroon blazer. Prefects wear yellow bands on the arms of their blazers. The Harris tie is a maroon tie striped with yellow and black. Pupils who represent the school internationally are awarded the International Achievement tie which has one black stripe and one yellow stripe with the Harris badge in the middle. There is also special ties that the School and House Captains wear and there is also peer support ties that are worn by pupils who help first year pupils throughout the year.

Buildings and groundsEdit

Park Place building (1885-1931)Edit

Harris Academy's original building was located at Park Place in Dundee which opened on 31 August 1885. The Park Place building officially opened on 2 September 1885.

Due to the popularity of the school by more pupils joining Harris Academy, the Park Place building was too small for pupils to fit and therefore moved to Perth Road.

Former Perth Road building (1931-2013)Edit

The main building was built in 1931 after the school population outgrew the previous Park Place building and was officially opened by Sir James Irvine, principal of St. Andrews University on 1 May 1931.

The former Perth Road building housed the Modern Languages department, the Social Subjects departments, the Science departments, The Religious Education department, the Craft and Design department, the Mathematics department, Assembly Hall, the Guidance base, Year-Heads' offices, and the Rector's office.

The Crawford Lodge annex to the west of the main school was purchased by the Town Council in 1946 as an extension to the school. Classics and modern languages were taught there. It was burnt down in 1958 and remained a shell till it was replaced by the new buildings in the late 1960s. This houses the Computing and Business Studies departments, the Home Economics department, the English department, the Art department, the school library, the careers base, the Dining hall, two of the three gyms, and the school's swimming pool.

In addition to these there is also a Music Block housing the Music department as well as rooms for music tuition; and a substantial Games Hall building with a fitness room. The school has access to a wrought-iron footbridge over the Dundee-Perth railway line to playing fields at the Riverside.

Not far from the school are the school sports grounds at Elliot Road. These include a recently improved pavilion, a rugby pitch and several football or hockey fields. In summer time, it is converted to Athletics tracks.

Blackness Road Annexe (1970s - 1990s)Edit

In the late 1970s the school experienced a boom in numbers, as a result of its conversion from a Senior Secondary School to a comprehensive school (it was never known as a 'grammar school'). In addition to its Perth Road buildings, Harris Academy took over the premises of Logie Junior Secondary School on Blackness Road, Dundee.

The school was split with 1st and 2nd years attending Harris Academy in the Blackness annexe, 3rd to 6th Years continued at the Perth Road building. Mini-buses provided transport for staff between the two locations by Red Line Coaches. Use of the annexe ceased in 1998,[10] and following a fire that caused extensive damage to the now-vacant school in 2001,[10] the former Logie/Annexe building was demolished.

Closure of Perth Road buildingEdit

Harris Academy moved to new temporary premises, at the old Rockwell High School building on Lawton Road on 15 August 2013, remaining there until August 2016 while the new Harris Academy was being built at the Perth Road site.

On the evening of 15 September 2013, a fire broke out at the vacant former Perth Road building while it awaited demolition.[11] A few classrooms on the first and middle floor suffered. The fire was put out quickly by fire crews from three Dundee fire stations. The fire brigade, who investigated the fire, were of the opinion that the fire was started deliberately, probably by youths.

New Perth Road building (2016)Edit

The new Harris Academy building was a £31 million project.[12] The new Harris Academy building was completed in early 2016, and the move from Menzieshill High School was completed by August 2016.[13] The new building was officially opened by Deputy First Minister John Swinney on 7 December 2016.[14]


Clock towerEdit

When Harris Academy moved to Perth Road in 1931, a clock tower was built at the front of the original 1930s building.

The new Harris Academy retained the clock tower that was put in storage during the construction of the new school building. The clock tower was renovated, painted and later retained on a platform at the eastern side of the school campus.

The platform that the clock tower stands on was built from the foundations of the former games hall and the 1960s extension from the former Perth Road building.

The clock tower also previously housed a bell which only rang on two occasions during the opening ceremony of the Perth Road building in 1931 and the 100th anniversary celebrations of Harris Academy in 1985.

Original facadeEdit

Harris Academy's façade at the former Perth Road building

The original Harris Academy facade was built at the front of the original Perth Road building in 1931. The facade was built as a main entrance to the building from the 1930s until the 1960s when an extension with other entrances were built.

During the construction of the new Harris Academy, the facade was put in storage along with the clock tower and once the new building was completed, the original facade was retained at the reception area of the new school.

Notable former pupilsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ http://harrisacademy.ea.dundeecity.sch.uk/school-1/school-history/foundation-1885
  2. ^ a b http://harrisacademy.ea.dundeecity.sch.uk/school-1/documents/parents-newsletters-2015/xmas-newsletter-2015
  3. ^ "Harris Academy, Dundee | The Good Schools Guide". The Good Schools Guide. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  4. ^ a b c http://harrisacademy.ea.dundeecity.sch.uk/school-1/school-history
  5. ^ "Scottish Post Office Directories".
  6. ^ "The Dundee Directory, 1939".
  7. ^ "The Scottish School System and the Second World War : A Study in Central Policy and Administration, p. 96" (PDF).
  8. ^ http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=201569
  9. ^ http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=200230
  10. ^ a b "Old school gutted by fire". telegraph.co.uk. Telegraph Media Group. 15 March 2001. Retrieved 24 March 2015. A fire brigade spokesman said children were seen running away from Logie School, a B-listed building, shortly before the fire started. Around 60 firemen fought the blaze on Tuesday night as it swept through the top floor of the three-storey building and destroyed its clock tower. [..] It opened in 1929 and was later annexed to Dundee's Harris Academy before closing in 1998.
  11. ^ "Fire breaks out at former Harris Academy". The Courier. DC Thomson. 16 September 2013. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015. Police and fire crews have launched an investigation after a blaze at the former Harris Academy building on Perth Road. A caretaker at the building raised the alarm shortly before 9pm on Sunday [..] Harris Academy pupils have moved [..] while the Perth Road building is knocked down and rebuilt
  12. ^ Argo, Andrew (18 July 2014). "New Harris Academy rises from the old". The Courier. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ Hamilton, Lindsey (8 December 2016). "'Harris Academy opening was a tremendous occasion'". Evening Telegraph.

External linksEdit