Harlaw Academy

Harlaw Academy is a six-year comprehensive secondary school situated 200 yards from the junction of Union Street and Holburn Street in the centre of Aberdeen, Scotland. It is directly adjacent to St Margaret's School for Girls. The academy draws most of its pupils from its associated primary schools, namely, Broomhill Primary School, Ferryhill Primary School and Kaimhill Primary School. David Innes has been headteacher since January 2013.

Harlaw Academy
The exterior of the school, as seen from Albyn Place.
Harlaw Academy
Harlaw Academy
Harlaw Academy
18-20 Albyn Place

AB10 1RG

Coordinates57.142222°N 2.116667°W / 57.142222; -2.116667
TypeSecondary school
Mottoby Learning and Courtesy
Established1874 (current location 1893)
Local authorityAberdeen City Council
Head teacherDavid Innes
Staff85 (approx)
Age11 to 18
Enrolment950 (approx)
HousesAlbyn, Carden, Holburn, Victoria, Waverely
Colour(s)Navy blue, Silver and Maroon
School yearsS1-S6
WebsiteHarlaw Academy


The school was established in Little Belmont Street as the Aberdeen High School for Girls in 1874.[1][2] The school moved to 19 Albyn Place, where it amalgamated with Mrs. Elmslie's Institution which occupied a prominent building designed by Archibald Simpson, in 1891.[2]

The Former Pupils' Club established a fund for the acquisition of a playing field at Hazlehead, as well as the cost of building and equipping a pavilion there.[3]

During the First World War, the building was requisitioned by the War Office to create the 1st Scottish General Hospital, a facility for the Royal Army Medical Corps to treat military casualties.[4]

Subsequent changes included the abolition of fees in 1947, the phasing out of the primary department in 1971 and the introduction of the city's area comprehensive system which brought about the changing of the school's name to Harlaw Academy in 1970.[5] Ruthrieston Secondary School was to become part of Harlaw Academy in 1972.[5]

In 2010, Harlaw Academy was threatened with closure, as part of the Aberdeen City Council's programme of financial cutbacks. This created serious concerns in the feeder communities which launched a successful campaign to save the school.[6]

Head teachers

Past and present head teachers include:

  • John McBain 1874-1913
  • Lucy Ward 1913-1929
  • Beatrice Rose 1929-1957
  • Margaretta McNab 1957-1971
  • Alexander Chalmers 1971-1985
  • Norman Horne 1985-1993
  • John Murray 1993– 2012(OCT)
  • David Innes (2012–Present)[7]

Notable former pupils

Notable alumni include:


  1. "DServe Archive Catalog Show". archives.aberdeencity.gov.uk. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  2. Ellis, Lucy (2006). Annie Lennox: The Biography. Music Sales. ISBN 978-0711991927.
  3. "A brief history". Harlaw Academy. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  4. "Harlaw Academy". Aberdeenshire Council. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  5. Fraser, W. Hamish; Lee, Clive Howard (2000). Aberdeen, 1800-2000: A New History. Birlinn. p. 338. ISBN 978-1862321083.
  6. "Parent's campaign to save city school". Aberdeen Voice. 10 September 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  7. "Staff List". harlawacademy.aberdeen.sch.uk. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  8. "Annie Lennox gives old reports to former school". theguardian.com. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  9. Steel, David (8 May 2008). "Baroness Michie of Gallanach". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  10. "Sonia Dresdel". IMDB. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
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