Jordanhill School: Wikis


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Jordanhill School
Motto Ad summa nitor (Strive for the Highest)
Established 1920
Type State school
Gender Mixed
Rector Dr. Paul Thomson
Founder Jordanhill College of Education
Location Chamberlain Road, Jordanhill,
Glasgow, ScotlandScotland
Coordinates Coordinates: 55°53′04.48″N 04°20′01.53″W / 55.8845778°N 4.3337583°W / 55.8845778; -4.3337583
Oversight Scottish Executive

Jordanhill School educates children from age 5-18. It is located on Chamberlain Road in Glasgow, Scotland.

Uniquely among mainstream Scottish schools, it is funded directly by the Scottish Executive, rather than through the local authority, in this case Glasgow City Council. It is nominally categorised as a non-denominational school, although at the end of each term the school attends the local Church of Scotland for a brief service, and assemblies consist of hymn singing and bible readings.

The School consists of a primary department and a secondary department. In the primary, P1-P3 have three classes of twenty-two pupils each while P4-P7 have two classes of thirty-three. Pupils in upper Primary spend a substantial part of their week working in the Secondary department. The secondary school takes in an additional thirty-three pupils in S1 to bring the number per year up to 99.

The School is state-funded by direct grant from the Scottish Executive, and is non fee-paying. The School catchment area encompasses predominantly owner-occupied housing in West Glasgow. The School regularly records among the best exam results in Scotland.

In a recent inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education the school received a very good report.[1]



Jordanhill School was formerly a "demonstration school" for Jordanhill College of Education. It was known as the Jordanhill College School.

The college was an out-of-town location that sought to merge two teacher training centres that were heavily influenced by education training pioneer David Stow, a Glasgow merchant. These were the Free Church Normal Seminary and the Dundas Vale Normal Seminary, two of the earliest teacher training colleges in Scotland. This merger was a government-sponsored initiative of 1905, when it was decided that teacher training should be taken away from the church and placed under the control of a provincial committee.

The site of the college - and now the school - was on the old Jordanhill Estate grounds. The old Jordanhill House was demolished around 1915, with the Glasgow Provincial Committee effecting purchase of the land to build their new college, though the plot had been for sale since 1911. The school buildings were completed in 1921,[2] although the school was actually founded a year earlier, in 1920.[3] Notable headmasters include the respected Andrew Walker (1891-1974), who led Jordanhill College School from 1936 to 1956, having earlier served from 1921 to 1932 as a mathematics and science master and - initially - the only teacher in the new secondary department, formed in 1921 with just twenty pupils. Most vividly remembered, though, is his successor, William T Branston (1915-1984), who at the time of his 1956 appointment was the youngest headteacher in Scotland and whose long reign - Branston finally retired in December 1980 - saw successive challenges, from sustained upheaval in Scottish school curricula to a serious bid to shut Jordanhill College School down in 1969. (It survived, the controversy concluding in December 1970, with the school adjusting readily to non-selective and non fee-paying status; but it would not be its last fight for life.)

A former naval officer and veteran of the Second World War, committed to a host of good works from amateur dramatics through the YMCA (he chaired the Glasgow organisation) to the Scottish National Orchestra Chorus and influential lay service in the Church of Scotland, William Branston - of Gladstonian countenance - was to most pupils an 'astonishingly remote, God-like figure' and perhaps the last of the really great Scots dominies. Certainly he enforced regular religious observance - such as morning assembly - and the school was noted through the 1970s for its rigid uniform code (which survives, and has become increasingly strict under the present rector) and highly conservative, rote-learning traditional teaching methods, notably in arithmetic and English grammar, which do not. While corporal punishment survived in the Scottish state system until 1986, and the belt was certainly a sanction at Jordanhill until the 1982-1983 session, it was used surprisingly seldom, generally as a last resort for atrocious offence and most frequently by the least competent teachers. Branston himself was a most humane and genial man whose majestic carriage - particularly in the conduct of school worship - left an abiding impression.

The school remained under control of the College until 1988, when it switched to its current directly-funded status. This move caused considerable controversy at the time, with various other options considered (including becoming a Council-run establishment or, indeed, a fee-paying school). In the end a combination of a spirited "Save Our School" campaign spearheaded by Branston's successor, Alistair Cram and ingenious political machinations led to the school becoming directly funded by the Scottish Office (and later the Scottish Executive). Unrelated difficulties, some local spite and gruesome publicity forced Cram's resignation in 1988, and in 1989 'College' was dropped from the school name, at the insistence of Jordanhill College.

In 1993 the college itself merged with the University of Strathclyde, with the Jordanhill Campus serving as home to the Education Faculty.[4]

An interesting history by Iain A D Mann, Jordanhill College School 1920-1995, is still available from the Bursar. An unofficial,lively Facebook page for former pupils of the pre-1988 era -!/pages/Jordanhill-College-School-in-the-80s/303651869532?ref=mf - was launched in February 2010.


Jordanhill School has recently been recognised for integrating IT in education by Becta with an 'ICT in Practice Award'. It has also been recognised as a 'Centre of Excellence' for the use of interactive whiteboards.

The school is in the process of modernising its estate. An all-weather pitch was completed in August 2007 and a Refectory extension in October 2007. A new teaching block opened in May 2008 providing custom built facilities for Art, mathematics, Modern Languages and Social Subjects.

Another addition in recent years is the Macmillan Building, a small building behind the school; housing a classroom used for RE and additional sports changing facilities. In early 2005 the school acquired the former Laurel Park games hall on Anniesland Road, in partnership with the Glasgow Academy.


Jordanhill School is also renowned for its high proportion of students participating in curricular and extracurricular music activities, with many of its pupils taking part in school, regional and national orchestras. Jordanhill students and music groups regularly excel in competitions such as the Glasgow Music Festival.[5]

A number of notable Scottish musicians attended Jordanhill School. These include Justin Currie of the band Del Amitri, Isobel Campbell (formerly of Belle & Sebastian),Justine Watts (formerly leader of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Amy Lindop (formerly of the Alice Band), and Roddy Hart. Other former pupils include politicians - the late Eric Forth (1944-2006), a lively Conservative MP from 1983 and Junior Minister in various departments from 1988 to 1997; Rhona Brankin, née Lloyd (b. 1950), Labour MSP for Midlothian and former Scottish Executive minister; a number of journalists, including former Jordanhill classmates and present Scottish Daily Mail scribes Peter Jardine and John MacLeod (both b. 1966); Scots actor Neil or Alistair Duncan and W A J 'Peter' Cunningham, the Hebridean naturalist. The school is also a popular choice with celebrities, with journalist Muriel Gray and politician Sam Galbraith's children attending the school.

The department is now run by Madonna fan, Karen Gilmour.

Local community

The school and its pupils have a very active involvement with the local community, with senior pupils undertaking community service as part of their extracurricular activities. Each year a committee of senior pupils produce the 'Jordanhill School Magazine', a not for profit venture, with submissions from pupils in primary, secondary and staff. It records the year’s events from the viewpoint of the pupils in article and photographic form. It is professionally published and sold to the school community. In the 2006 edition of The Times' Good Schools Guide the magazine received a favourable comment in their assessment of the school.


The school's Latin motto, beneath its coat of arms is "Ad summa neator", which translates to "Strive for the Highest". The school uniform consists of dark trousers for boys (brown shorts were obligatory in the Primary Department until 1977, when the option of 'longs' was ceded to Primary Seven boys) a brown skirt (or pinafore for primary girls) for girls, a white shirt (the option of cream was permitted into the early 1990s) and a brown blazer. Seasonal options include waxed Barbour jackets in winter and gingham summer dresses. The tie is yellow, brown and green for everyone except the seniors who have a brown tie and pupils achieving excellence in extra-curricular activities (for example representing their country at their chosen sport) who may be awarded a green Honours tie. All pupils are required to wear the uniform at when they are inside the school or its grounds, at lunchtime and when travelling to and from the school.

Jordanhill's Senior Management Team currently consists of:

- Rector Dr. Paul Thomson;

- Depute Rector Mr. Derek Brown;

- Depute Head Teacher (responsible for Senior Secondary) Mr. Douglas Brown;

- Depute Head Teacher (responsible for Junior Secondary) Ms. McDade;

- Head of Primary Ms. I. Matier;

- Depute Head (Upper Primary) Mr. Paton;

- Depute Head (Lower Primary) Miss Gairns;

- Ms. Henrietta Galbraith, the Bursar.

The railway station closest to the School is Jordanhill railway station.

The school is featured in the 1996 film adaptation of Irvine Welsh's novel Trainspotting and also int the Music Video of Dark of The Matinee by Franz Ferdinand, a Scottish rock group. It also provided the location for two episodes of Taggart, serving as the exclusive Glasgow Grammar School.

The school recently won a football honour, with the under 14's age group winning the Glasgow Cup. The victory was over rivals Helensburgh Hermitage, also known as ' Hermann's Hermits ', or ' Doof, doof, doof, doof '.

One of the school's pupils, Rory Elrick starred in the CBBC show Half Moon Investigations. Rory's character was often cited repeating his catch-phrase "I picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue.". The 13 episode comedy drama was based on the novel by Eoin Colfer and ran from January 2009, Half Moon Investigations, based on the book by Eoin Colfer.[6]

Former pupil Neil Francis, is to appear in a Doctor Who special later this year.

Current pupil Paul Sanders was highly commended in the Pushkin Prizes in 2009.[7]


  1. ^ Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education: Jordanhill School Report
  2. ^ Donnelly, Max (1987) "Jordanhill - A Historical Sketch" (2nd ed) (Glasgow: Self-published (printed at Strathclyde University))
  3. ^ Jordanhill School History page
  4. ^
  5. ^ Jordanhill School Music Department Page
  6. ^ TESS, 12 Dec 2008, Crime scene investigation by Emma Seith. Accessed 6 Mar 2009.
  7. ^

External links



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