The school was founded in 1894 originally as a senior secondary or Academy, before the abolition of the two-tier system of junior and senior secondaries. Today the institution is a non-denominational comprehensive school.
Originally, the grand red sandstone building located on Eastmuir Street (now Shettleston Road) was thought to be "too grand" for the tiny village of Shettleston, which at the time was separate from Glasgow. The roll of the school quickly grew over the years, and required the construction of an annexe building in 1901, which housed primary education until Eastbank Primary School was split off as a separate entity following construction of a new building at Gartocher Road in 1969.
The original 1894 building grew increasingly inadequate over the decades, and fell into a state of serious disrepair. As part of the GEAR (Glasgow Eastern Area Renewal) initiative, a brand new building was constructed and opened in 1986. At the time state-of-the-art, the 1986 Eastbank Academy building was noted for its extensive use of open plan teaching areas for science and practical subjects. The old 1894 building was extended, refurbished and redeveloped in 1989 into a home for John Wheatley College, whilst the 1901 Annexe building was acquired by Greater Glasgow Health Board in 1995. Consolidation of Glasgow's secondary school portfolio in the late 1990s led to the former John Street secondary being closed, and Eastbank's catchment area increased once again. The 1986 building was once again too small, and required yet another new building which opened in 2002. Following John Wheatley College's move to a new purpose built campus in the Haghill area in 2007, the original 1894 building of Eastbank Academy is now used by other community organisations.
Famous alumni of Eastbank Academy include:
- Junior Campbell (William Campbell) - lead guitarist, singer and songwriter with the sixties band The Marmalade). Also known for writing the music for the original Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends television series and films.
- Neil Carmichael - Labour Party politician.
- Cliff Hanley - broadcaster and lyricist of the Scottish anthem Scotland the Brave.
- Angus Lennie - actor.
- Cameron McKenna - STV announcer, Daybreak Scotland presenter and STV Nightshift presenter.
- Thomas Renfrew - HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary for Scotland from 1957 to 1966.
- Charles Wilson - journalist; editor of The Times from 1985 to 1990; managing director of Mirror Group Newspapers plc. from 1992 to 1998.