Our history

Founder illustrationThe High School of Dundee dates its origins back to 1239 when the Abbot of Lindores was instructed to build a grammar school in the new burgh of Dundee. 

Famous pupils of the Grammar School in early times were Hector Boece, first Principal of the University of Aberdeen and, reputedly, William Wallace, the Scottish patriot.

In 1589 the school moved into its first long-term home in St Clement’s Lane, remaining there for two hundred years. In 1789 it shared a building in School Wynd with the English School, which had been founded at the beginning of the century. Another school, Dundee Academy, was opened in the Nethergate in 1785.

In 1832-1834 the Main Building, with its distinctive Doric pillars, was built entirely from public subscription to house Dundee Public Seminaries, and the three schools were merged. The name High School of Dundee was adopted in 1859, when the School was granted a Royal Charter.

The Constitution of the School is embodied in ‘The High School of Dundee Scheme, 1987’, and sanctioned by an Order of the Court made under the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, in May 1992.

In July 2007 the High School of Dundee was the first school in Scotland to pass the charity test under the requirements of the Charity and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, and thus have its charitable status formally confirmed by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).