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Kirkcudbright Academy
St Marys Wynd, DG6 4JN, UK Kirkcudbright
+44 (0)1557 330440


In the Academy, we take pride in the provision of high quality education. It is a central aim of the school that we work in partnership with parents, pupils and the community to ensure that this education takes place in a stimulating, secure, pleasant and caring environment. To this end, we liaise closely with our primary colleagues in order that we can guarantee continuity of learning and smooth transfer of  both pupils and information. As part of the induction  process, visits are made by Academy teachers and senior students to primary schools and by primary pupils and teachers to the Academy. Your part in this process is very important and I encourage you not only to attend the
P7 Parents' Evenings in January and June, but also to contact the school if you have any questions or any information concerning your youngster's move to the Academy. This is particularly important, of course, if your child is joining the school during the session or entering a year group other than S1.

In Kirkcudbright Academy , education is a careful blend of tradition and innovation. We hold firmly to those aspects of schooling that we believe are of fundamental importance - courtesy, self-discipline, uniform, homework, sporting and social activities. At the same time, we move forward, providing the facilities and teaching the skills that will allow our youngsters to make good use of the technologies and opportunities that this rapidly developing world offers them. Within this school community or team with its strong sense of corporate identity, we prize the individual and work hard to encourage each youngster to be confident, considerate and ambitious. Our expectations of ourselves and of our pupils are high.

The school motto "Radicem Firmant Frondes" (from the roots comes strength) continues to hold true. Only if the pupils, teachers and parents of today work together, will Kirkcudbright Academy go from strength to strength. A strong school such as this offers each and every pupil a positive, enriching and memorable experience.

Situated at the axis point of the town's historic High Street, Kirkcudbright Academy is set in pleasant, landscaped grounds. In one direction it looks onto the Tolbooth, rooftops and gardens of the old town; in the other across the playing fields to the estuary of the River Dee. A school has existed in Kirkcudbright since 1455 and the Academy is first mentioned in Council minutes in 1576. According to Burgh records, it occupied various sites within the town until the 18th century when it moved to its present site.

The present main school building dates from 1926. Major additions have been made in 1931 (Cochran Hall), 1958 (new block), 1970 (Games Hall), 1973 (Library) and 1990 (Mathematics block). The most recent building programme has resulted in extensive refurbishment of the Science laboratories and the creation of a Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) in 2005.

Until the late 19th century, Classics, English and Book-keeping were the subjects taught. The curriculum on offer to pupils today covers a wide variety of subjects to meet changing demands. Pupils are presented for SQA National Qualifications at Standard Grade, Intermediate, Higher and Advanced Higher levels.

The Academy is non-denominational and serves the towns of Kirkcudbright, Gatehouse of Fleet and surrounding areas. There are six associated primary schools - Kirkcudbright's primary schools (Castledykes and Johnston) and the primary schools serving the Auchencairn, Borgue, Gatehouse and Twynholm areas. Some pupils attend the Academy from outwith this catchment area when parents wish to exercise their freedom of choice. There are approximately 500 pupils on the roll.


Curricular Flexibility Programme 2003-2009

In Kirkcudbright Academy , we strive constantly to improve and update the education available to our pupils. Recent changes to the curriculum, and to the regulations that apply to age and stage made by the Scottish Executive, have resulted in a major review of the structure of the curriculum that we offer to our pupils. Session 2007-2008 is the fifth year of a programme of change, the ultimate aim of which is to raise attainment and to improve the quality of the provision which we currently offer our pupils. The nature and rationale for these changes will be explained at the P7 Parents' Evening but an outline of the curriculum is provided below.

The programme of change has been joint funded by the Scottish Executive and the Local Authority. The most recent HMIe report on the school, published in September 2006, commented favourably on the programme of change.

Curriculum for Pupils S1-S3: session 2007-2008

At present, S1 pupils are grouped according to shared interests and enthusiasms on the basis of information obtained from our primary schools, in consultation with pupils and their parents. All S1 classes follow a common course which is designed to lay the foundations for a two year course of study beginning in S2 which leads to national certification in S3. In Maths, pupils are usually organised in sets according to ability. Learning Support teachers work in some S1 classes alongside the subject specialist.

In June, at the end of S1, pupils are asked to choose subjects for S2/S3 at Standard Grade or Intermediate Level. The choice is the culmination of a process of reporting and consultation with pupils and parents.

•  Reports are issued on performance in S1 to guide the choice
•  Pupils have an interview with their Pupil Support teacher - parents may attend if they wish
•  Parents have the chance to meet with their child's teachers at Parents' Evening
•  A booklet is issued that gives details about the courses in S2/S3.

Curriculum for Pupils S4-S6: session 2007-2008

All year groups are combined to allow pupils to choose subjects from an extended range of courses and levels. Further details are offered in the booklets which are issued to pupils at the time that course choices are made. This happens in February/March after pupils have sat Prelim examinations, reports have been issued to parents and there has been consultation with subject teachers and Pupil Support staff. Copies of the booklets can be obtained from the school office but some brief points are given below.

Course choice: S4/S5

Pupils will choose 5 subjects to prepare for National Qualifications at Intermediate, Higher and Advanced Higher levels or for courses which are accredited differently - e.g. ASDAN, NVQ, Scottish Progression Award. The range of subjects will vary from the traditional school-based subjects to ones which focus more on skills for work e.g. Rural Skills, Early Education and Childcare, Fashion and Textile Technology.

In addition to the 5 subjects chosen, pupils will do a range of core courses: Physical Education, Personal and Social Education, Religious and Moral Education, Study Skills, all contributing to our pupils' overall education and to providing them with skills for life.

Course choice: S6

Pupils entering S6 negotiate a timetable according to their needs and post-school aspirations. In addition to the courses available to pupils in S4/S5, pupils can also do some work experience, either in an area related to a future career or an area that interests them and will help develop skills and personal qualities. Pupils also have some non-class contact time to allow them to study on their own, thus helping them make an easier transition to the less formal atmosphere of Higher Education. This free time also allows S6 pupils to become involved in the community aspect of school - organising events such as Charities days, school dances, being a part of Young Enterprise, working on the school magazine etc.

The following booklets are available for download below
S1 Booklet
S2/S3 Booklet
S5/S6 Booklet
Currently being updated
Currently being updated
Currently being updated

Examinations and Assessment

•  Pupils in S1/S2: Session 2007-08

Continuous assessment of classwork is used to measure attainment of S1 pupils. Each S1 course has certain objectives which it is hoped all pupils will achieve. At the same time, there will be material to stretch the most able. Pupils are measured against set standards rather than against each other. In S2, pupils move to Standard Grade/Intermediate courses and assessments are given to mark progress on the two year courses.

•  Pupils in S3 - S6: Session 2007-08

One of the main roles of a school is to enable pupils to succeed in external examinations. Formal examinations, particularly Prelims in S3, S4, S5 and S6, become more important both as preparatory training and as the basis on which appeals are made for Standard Grade and National Qualification candidates.

Adults in School

We welcome adults to any of our classes, where space permits. It is possible to study for any SQA National Qualification that we offer on the timetable. Attendance here would be approximately 5 hours weekly for each subject. For further information, contact Mrs Dobson, Depute Rector.

Adult Education evening classes, covering a wide range of vocational and general interest courses, are held in the Academy. For further information, contact Mrs M Baker (331280).

The Adult Basic Education Service, also based at the Academy, helps adults who lack confidence in basic literacy and/or numeracy. For further information, contact Mrs A Barratt (01556 503263).


Kirkcudbright Academy offers many opportunities for extra-curricular activities. Highlights of the school's social calendar include the unique Kirkcudbright tradition of the Junior and Senior Candlemas Balls in February and the Half-Marathon organised by staff and pupils in May.

Pupils can practise their various talents by helping to produce KAM, the school magazine, or by taking part on stage or behind the scenes in the school pantomime and showcase. The Young Enterprise Company gives 6th Year students the opportunity to manage a small business, designing and marketing an actual product. The Art Department holds an annual exhibition of pupils' work in the town's Harbour Cottage Gallery. Also the English Department runs the yearly Ian Wishart Memorial Creative Writing Competition, the Peter Cook Memorial competititon for non-fiction and “Youth Speaks”, a public speaking contest.

Various sporting activities take place regularly at lunchtime or after school: hockey, rugby, table tennis, football, archery, badminton, gymnastics, and swimming.

The school hockey, rugby, football and swimming teams compete against other local schools and participate in various regional tournaments. A school golf team takes part in the annual Regional Schools Golf Tournament in June and the school showjumping teams have enjoyed considerable success in national competitions.

Many other interests are catered for: pupils can learn to play or improve their skills in chess or bridge; the Sugarcraft Group meets weekly to learn the skills of cake decorating; the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme offers pupils challenges in a wide range of activities and the English Department organises trips to a variety of films and plays during the year.

The School Environment

Kirkcudbright Academy is proud of its environment and, over the past few years, the staff and pupils have undertaken several projects to improve the school and its surroundings. These have included: creating a woodland walk; a tutor group reclaiming some neglected space and creating a small garden; making and installing seating and a picnic area and, most noteworthy of all, the creation of a memorial garden, a project which was supported and filmed by the Beechgrove Garden (see over). The school has an active Environment Group which was re-launched in January 2004. This group is coordinating our application for Eco-Schools status – a prestigious national award which recognises schools that show a commitment to the environment and it will focus on the issue of litter in the first instance.

Activities Week

For one week in June, the normal school timetable is suspended and pupils and staff participate in a week of sporting, cultural and community activities. In recent years, pupils have had the opportunity to go on a variety of trips, including to Berlin and Stratford . Departments organise subject specific activities, including designing and building land yachts. Specialists in drama and dance are brought in to host workshops for pupils, while others participate in a bewildering array of sporting and cultural activities. Other pupils take part in environmental activities including working on local conservation and community projects.

Planning for Activities Week 2007 has already begun - we are hoping to match, if not exceed, the achievement of previous years.

School Trips

Pupils are regularly offered opportunities to travel to various events and places of interest throughout the session, both in Dumfries & Galloway and well beyond its boundaries. The School Fund plays an important role in subsidising the considerable transport costs of all our trips.

We expect that the variety of trips in session 2007-2008 will be as extensive as in previous sessions: field trips, visits to theatres, museums, art galleries, exhibitions, the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh , careers conventions, universities, places of historical or geographical interest, expeditions and continuing with our exchange programme with the Gymnasium Hochrad in Hamburg . In June, during Activities Week all pupils will have the opportunity encouraged to participate in activities outwith the normal curriculum. Events will be local and further afield, sporting and cultural, practical and challenging: full details will be issued to pupils as the session progresses.

Support for Charities

Each year, the pupils in Kirkcudbright Academy choose to support a particular charity. The 6th year then co-ordinate fund raising events for this charity, with each year group organising activities.

Between 1999 and 2001, we gave £2,850 to the Children's Hospice Association Scotland for their appeal to build a children's hospice in West Scotland . In 2002 and 2003, we supported the Macmillan Cancer Appeal to build an Oncology Unit in Dumfries and £4,500 was raised by various activities. In 2004-2005 we worked for CLIC (Cancer and Leukaemia in Children) and The Meningitis Research Foundation and gave each charity £1,125.

This session sees us working for World Vision and we hope to build on the £4,500 already raised to help rebuild a school in eastern India devastated by the Tsunami on Boxing Day 2004.

primary schools in Kirkcudbright, secondary schools in Kirkcudbright, schools in Kirkcudbright

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