Kilmarnock Academy - News Archive Aug 2008 to June 2009                     

June 2009


Before the school closed for the summer, some of our pupils - who will be in second year next session - came up with some suggestions for places to go and things to do during the summer break. Here are some of their ideas:

•  Loudoun Castle  •  Barrassie Beach  •  Dean Castle Country Park  •  The Galleon  •  Silverburn  •  Craig Tara  •  Saltcoats Shows  •  Lochgoilhead  •  Loch Ness  •  Caprington Golf Course  •  Caprington Jumps  •  Burns Cottage  •  Troon Rocks  •  Kay Park  •  Heads Of Ayr Farm Park  •  Dick Institute  •  Pitlochry  •  M&D's  •  Nature Trail  •  The Garage  •  Tesco  •  Science Centre  •  Kelvingrove Art Gallery  •  Blair Drummond Safari Park  •  Hampden  •  Rugby Park  •  Ibrox  •  Edinburgh Zoo  •  Vikingar  •  Culzean Castle  •  Electric Brae  •  Dunure  •  Cinema  •  Theatre  •  Gailes  •  Troon beach  •  Irvine Beach  •  Transport Museum  •  Loch Lomond  •  Edinburgh Museum Of National History  •  Braehead  •  Buchanan Galleries  •  Arran  •  Millport  •  Power league  •  Edinburgh Dungeons  •  Kelburn Country Park  •  Largs

To read more suggestions click here.

Doctor Neil Dickson, the longest-serving member of our English Department, has now left the building and is currently en route to a happy retirement. He joined the staff of Kilmarnock Academy in August 1977 on the day that Elvis died. In his 32 years at Kilmarnock Academy Neil has provided enlightenment and inspiration as well as compassion, understanding and humour (being an Aberdeen supporter, he certainly needed the humour). Throughout his career at KA, he has had his share of 'difficult' classes but always managed to get them on his side.

Special thanks is due to Neil for all of the time, expertise and wisdom he has contributed to the creation and development of the history sections of the school website. His mischievous contribution to KA mythology and the world of fiction was "The Ghost of A Floor" . He will be missed by all those who value decency, integrity and knowledge and, above all, he will be missed by his pupils. We wish Neil a long and happy retirement.

We also wish Mr Maider and Mrs Lyon a long and happy retirement.

We are pleased to report that KA pupil Owen Gemmell has been  awarded the Kilmarnock Rugby Clubs S2 Coaches Player of the Year  trophy. Owen takes his rugby seriously and this year his hard work,  dedication and skill have brought rewards and recognition. Owen, who  is a second row forward in the scrum, plays for the S2 every Sunday  and trains with the team every Wednesday night.

 This year Kilmarnocks S2s won their own Tounament, beating Cumnock  RFC , Strathaven RFC and Cartha Queens Park RFC. 


One sunny day in June, KA's 2009 Readers Cup team - along with reserves, supporters, Miss Brown, Mr King & Toby the Library Assistant - set off for Auchinleck Academy to compete in the annual S1 & S2 Readers Cup competition.

Well, given that there are nine Secondary Schools in East Ayrshire, coming 7th wasn't too bad! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and the team (and Mr King!) went away with goody bags to commemorate the event. I don't think any of our supporters managed to win anything in the free-for-all that was the audience quiz - this consisted of shouting out answers as loud and as quick as possible. Our pupils were much too well behaved for that!

Auchinleck Academy won - again - so this time next year we will be travelling down to their school to compete. We'll get our team chosen much earlier - so I can do a bit of coaching....perhaps!

Report by Stephen King, School Librarian


If you tuned in to Reporting Scotland on Thursday 11th June you would have caught a fleeting glimpse of life at KA. A team from BBC News visited Mrs Dunsmuir's class to film Mrs D teaching and interview her, as well as three pupils, about the present exam system. By the time the footage was transmitted at 6.30pm, other news developments meant that the report had been shortened and, while we did get some colourful footage of Mrs D and her class, the interviews were completely cut from the report - a pity as we always like to hear what Mrs D has to say.

After filming at KA, the news team - Kevin Jackson and cameraman, Pete Cole - also had reports on Setanta and on Swine Flu to film, edit and have ready for the news at 6.30. Now that's pressure!

While the BBC were filming Mrs Dunsmuir's class, upstairs in Home Economics Miss Lamont was the focus of attention. Chris, photographer for the Times Ed, was taking some shots of Miss Lamont in action to accompany a follow-up piece on probationer teachers for an upcoming edition of the Times Ed.


Just in case you missed Reporting Scotland or you don't have a TV, here are some snapshots of life at the great Citadel of Learning.

 Kilmarnock Academy's Annual Prizegiving ceremony will take place on  Monday 15th June. As always, there will be a range of quality musical  items and speeches in addition to the presentation of prizes.

 In case you're wondering how it all works, our academic awards are  not based on the old-fashioned system of aggregating raw scores from  all subjects and ranking the pupils with the highest average scores.  Instead, each department nominates a set number of 'top pupils' and  those pupils with the most nominations get certificates of distinction.  To find out who will be receiving prizes click here.

 A group of S3 Business Managers - John Routh, Holly Jarvie, Michael  Glover, Leigh McMaster - visited the Mitchell Library in Glasgow for an  exciting day of trading on a computer-simulated stock exchange.  The  group competed against another 24 schools to see who could make  the most money. Groups were given a set amount of money to buy  stocks and shares, with the ultimate aim of their money growing, in  order to make a profit. Sounds simple - but the pupils found it an  exciting and stressful day when share and stock prices rose and fell  constantly. Pupils had a great day and learnt a great deal about the  stock exchange.

 Report by L MacInnes  


S6 London Trip (Mr Ramsay)
If you are interested in this see Mr Ramsay for details asap.

Summer Activities (Mr Ramsay)
These will be taking place on Thursday 25 th June. Money can still be paid at the reception this week. There are still places available on the following:
•  Loudoun Castle - £10
•  Strathclyde Park - £13
•  Power League – price to be confirmed but approx £10
Activity money will be collect at lunchtimes this week and next.

S5 Pupils - UCAS applications next session (Mrs Hamilton)
Pupils who applying to college or university next session may wish to consider doing work experience or work shadowing during the summer holidays in order to include it in their personal statement. I cannot organise this for you but I can give you contacts. See me if you are interested.

For more details and events click here.


 Stephen McIlwraith and Gregor Keachie, both 4B, accompanied by Mrs  Hamilton, attended an event in the Park Hotel on Tuesday 2nd June.  The purpose of this event was for schools to thank local businesses for  any help given during the session.

 Pupils in KA have had the benefit of many business people this year -  in the work experience programme and mock interviews mainly. We are  always grateful to local companies, local authority personnel, not to  mention the Ayrshire Chamber for help...(click to read on)
 Report by L Hamilton


 The Scottish Youth Theatre is planning a range of events and  activities over the coming months. If you are interested in finding out  how to develop your interest in drama and theatre then click here to  find out what is on offer.


 In a recent survey of books borrowed from the Library Resource Centre,  New Moon by Stephenie Meyer came out on top. Here is the list of  most popular books:

 1. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
 2. Run Zan Run by Catherine MacPhail
 3. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
 4. It's OK, Im wearing really big knickers by Louise Rennison
 5. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
 6. Roxy's Baby by Catherine MacPhail
 7. The Beast Within by Catherine MacPhail
 8. Cirque du Freak by Darran Shan
 9= Clone Wars Adventures (Graphic Novel)
 9= Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
 9= Simpsons Comics Extravaganza
 9= The Escape by Robert Muchamore
 9= Your Most Wanted Cheats by Cath Birch

 Information supplied by Stephen King, School Librarian.

May 2009


 The new timetable will begin for all pupils on Monday 1st June. Pupils  will stay with their current register teachers and remain in the class  until 9.30 am. Timetables plus instructions for respective year groups  will be issued to register teachers before the end of the week

 A copy of the instructions for all year groups will be issued to all staff  for information.

 SQA exams are still running in the hall until Friday 5 th June therefore  some pupils may be missing from classes.

 Mrs Hollywood


 In a recent survey of books borrowed from the Library Resource Centre,  New Moon by Stephenie Meyer came out on top. Here is the list of  most popular books:

 1. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
 2. Run Zan Run by Catherine MacPhail
 3. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
 4. It's OK, Im wearing really big knickers by Louise Rennison
 5. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
 6. Roxy's Baby by Catherine MacPhail
 7. The Beast Within by Catherine MacPhail
 8. Cirque du Freak by Darran Shan
 9= Clone Wars Adventures (Graphic Novel)
 9= Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
 9= Simpsons Comics Extravaganza
 9= The Escape by Robert Muchamore
 9= Your Most Wanted Cheats by Cath Birch

 Information supplied by Stephen King, School Librarian.

 With the long May weekend now behind us, staff and pupils have to  face up to the grim prospect of having no more holidays until June.

 Between now and then there will be a lot happening to keep us all  constructively occupied and our minds on the job, with SQA exams  now running well into June and the change of timetable taking place in  the first week of June.


 The Pupil Council Minutes have recently been updated and we would  like to encourage all parents to check them out (click here). As we are  very keen to take on board the views and opinions of all parents of  pupils at KA, we have set up an online feedback/survey page (see the  item below: CALLING ALL KA PARENTS).
 You can also e-mail your comments and suggestions to the Kilmarnock  Academy Parent Council  by clicking here.

 CALLING ALL KA PARENTS....AND PUPILS (Survey Closed June 1st)

 Kilmarnock Academy is always keen to hear parents' views and  suggestions for improvement.  If you are the parent of a pupil at the  school please click here to complete a short survey.  This is a quick  and easy way for us to find out what you think and how we might  improve. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

 If you are a KA pupil, you are also invited to complete a short survey -  your chance to  tell us what you think about the Kilmarnock Academy  experience. Take a few  moments of your time to express your opinion  and influence how the school develops in future. To access the pupil  survey click here.


This year, the joint enterprise was held in International Week , which  was at the end of April. The primary, nursery and special school s were  the hosts and S1 Kilmarnock Academy pupils were the visitors .

 1F visited Hillhead PS and joined in the activities there. P1 were finding  out about Spain – painting the flag and flamenco dancers. One class in  P2 heard a talk from a parent about life in Africa , while the other class  tasted pizza and painted the Italian flag. P4 learned how to count to  ten in Japanese , while P6 tasted French food and learned a rap in  French put together by the Academy pupils. (To read on click here)
 Report by Mrs Hamilton


 S1 Pupils Visit Lochgoilhead

 KA first year pupils visited Lochgoilhead from 11th to 15th May.

 S1 Trip to Glasgow Science Centre
 This was scheduled to take place on Wed 6th May.

 Health Day For S1
 This was a big event organized by Mr Howie and took place on 25th  March.


 May 2009 sees the 80th anniversary of the presentation of Sir  Alexander Fleming's ground-breaking paper on the discovery of  penicillin. We at K.A. are justly proud of our famous ex-pupil – one of  two to hold a Nobel Laureate award – so when our local MP, Rt. Hon.  Des Browne, contacted us to discuss this, we felt we should get  involved.

 That's why the LRC was closed earlier this week – your intrepid  Librarian made the long haul “down south” .....(to read on click here).


 Former pupil Claire-Louise Fergus recently made it through to the final  of this year's Miss Scotland contest, staged on the 14th May. Aged  just 17, Claire-Louise was the youngest of the ten finalists. She is  studying childcare at college and hopes to qualify as a nursery nurse  and would also love to become a successful model. At school, Claire  was a perfect pupil and we think she'd have been a worthy winner.

 (And congratulations to Mr Reid who recently won the Coatbridge  heats of the Fray Bentos International Search for a Real Man contest.)


 All S4 pupils followed the mock interview programme and had a mock  interview in school during January. In February, pupils applied for jobs  supplied by local businesses in competition with pupils at Grange,  James  Hamilton and Stewarton Academies. 23 Kilmarnock Academy  pupils were selected for interviews in March, but only one was  successful. This was Stephen McIlwraith of 4B who was "appointed" to  the job at The Jefferson Hotel.
 Report by Mrs Hamilton


Very best of luck with your examinations. Study leave begins on Thursday but you are welcome to come into school to work or ask questions. If you are returning to school the new timetable begins on Monday 1 st June unless you have remaining examinations to sit. Keep working hard – it will be worth it. Good luck!

 SQA Timetable 2009

                May 2009


 Make sure
 •  You know the details of all your  exam times
 •  You have your candidate number  in a safe place
 •  You are working hard in school  and at home so that you do as well  as possible in the exams.


SQA past papers
These are now in short supply in the shops. If you still wish to purchase past papers you can try the Leckie & Leckie website. You can also download individual past papers in each subject and at each level at the SQA website by clicking here.

Supported study
The school will be open on Saturday mornings on the 2nd , 9th and 16th May for Maths supported study and to offer a general study class. The maths revision and general study class will run from 9.30 to 12.30 pm. Please take advantage of this opportunity to revise for your maths exams or to use the quiet, supervised space for your revision.

Revision website
The BBC Bitesize revision system is available at the following websites:


 "From time to time, I get e-mails from publishers highlighting new books  being produced. When I heard that Neil Oliver (the long-haired Historian  from the BBC TV "Coast" programme) had a new book out, I just had to  get a copy - and I'm glad I did. Oliver has taken the dramatic, sad and  ultimately futile story of Captain Robert Falcon Scott (of the Antarctic)  and woven around it other tales of good old-fashioned, mainly British  "stiff upper lips" - from Trafalgar,the Charge of the Light Brigade, the  Battle of Britain, the South African Zulu Wars, and the SAS. In case  he's accused of concentrating solely on the British breed of "manly  men", he includes the fateful Apollo 13 story and the Demons of  Camerone as well (no, I didn't know about this one either - but it  sounds as it would make a good spaghetti western with Mel Gibson in  the starring role, as long as his French accent is better than his  Scottish one!)."   To read on click here.

 Review by Stephen King, School Librarian (and Nottingham lad)



 Some time ago I worked on pages for this website commemorating  former pupils who died in the two world wars. At the time I stated that  the real emotional impact of that memorial derived from the fact that  the individual stories and tributes succeeded in humanising the  statistics, giving a real sense of the lives behind the names and  conveying an overwhelming sense of loss. Recently I came across a  web page that did the same thing for young victims of another tragic  war - on the streets of modern Britain. Anyone who thinks that it's cool  to be "tooled up" should click here.                                 N. McIlvanney


 Our local MP, Mr Des Browne, visited Kilmarnock Academy on the  afternoon of Friday, 24th April. Mr Browne was conducting research  into the background of Alexander Fleming and was particularly  interested in viewing old documents pertaining to Fleming from the  school archive, as he is planning a range of events to commemorate  the publication of Fleming's paper on penicillin. Mr Browne is pictured  holding the school Admissions Register containing the entry for Alex  Fleming, who joined KA on 28th August 1894. Also in the photograph  are our School Librarian, Stephen King, and Head Teacher, Carole Ford.

April 2009


 We have just added the Counselling Network website to our community  health links page. The purpose of the Counselling Network site is  ultimately to provide the UK with a huge counselling support network,  enabling those in distress to find a counsellor close to them and  appropriate for their needs. This is a free, confidential service that will  hopefully encourage those in distress to seek help. The website also  contains a number of sections on emotional disorders (types of distress  section) and provides some useful statistics. To have a look at the site  click here.

Former Pupils



Hello my name is John Findlay and i finished up as a pupil at Kilmarnock Acadamy in 1988/89 i think? I moved to Australia in 1993 on a working visa and have been here ever since.I am married with two kids and am currently employed as a rigger. I work in Sydney installing high-rise window cleaning machines. I only just came across this web-site thanks  to facebook...i've been having a good laugh at some of the pictures and  stories, particulary the one about '  KA - THE PEACEFUL PLACE'. I would  love to hear if this is a laugh or for real?? Anywho all the best from  down under and tell Mr Dixon (if he is still around) that he is to blame  for my atrotios spelling and grammer ;-) John Findlay


One bright and blustery day in March, 40 or so eager S1 pupils piled into a bus to visit Burns' birthplace. Mrs Dunsmuir and the rest of the staff counted them all into The Tam o' Shanter experience - and 20 minutes later counted them all out again with "life and mettle in their heels".

A quick trip to Alloway's auld haunted kirk was followed by a brisk walk up the road - no problem for these "plump and strapping teens" - to pay homage to the great man's first home. Our "honest men and bonny lasses" were suitably impressed with the thatched cottage, and all wondered how the whole family slept in the one box-bed.

And so back onto the bus, where "mirth and fun grew fast and furious" on the trip back to KA.

A successful and enjoyable trip - especially as no one was found "deep drown'd in Doon"!

Report by Stephen King, School Librarian

 How valuable is your website? I have been searching for an ex-army  friend for many, many years.  In fact I lost contact in the early 60's, in  fact I lived in Shortlees, Kilmarnock, with the Stuart family when I was  a Sales Rep.  Any way back to your website, today I searched on  Google for Henry McCulloch, and found him listed for your website.  I  have since contacted him in Ajax in Canada by telephone, fantastic.  Your website is worth its weight in gold after all these years of  searching.

 Kindest Regards, Tony Lord.


I never knew this web site existed until today - fantastic.

I'm now staying in Glasgow, married with children!  After leaving school (1997) I toyed about with a few bands in the Glasgow circuit but chucked in favour of a more steady career.  I am now in charge of waste strategy in Inverclyde Council. Have to say that my fondest memories have to be in the music department - the dungeon was great!  New building was good as well though only had it for part our final year there.  Going by the photos looks like all our old teachers are gone. Anyone know what happened to Mr Muldoon and his crossbow?

Hope all are well. Colin Wilson


 It was a very pleasant surprise to receive an e-mail on Tuesday from  poet, dramatist and former pupil Stewart Conn.  "I've enjoyed looking at  the Academy website, on which it is nice to be among - and a privilege  to rub shoulders with - other former pupils, far more distinguished than  I am." Stewart was kind enough to provide us with some recent news  and some additional information about himself which we have used to  update his page on KA Web. He has also agreed to us including some  brief extracts of his work on KA Web (coming soon).

 To view Stewart Conn's updated page click here.


 Well, actually, we were not being serious. The two items below  appeared on KA Web at around 12.30 am on April 1st and were  intended to be a bit of fun, in the spirit and traditions of April 1st.

 Having said that, there is no doubt that each of the spoof initiatives  outlined below does sound quite interesting and appealing. Indeed,  some days at KA it seems that one aspect of the Tropical Room idea (ie  tropical temperature) is already being piloted in most rooms and  corridors in the school.

New School Minibus for a New Age?


From the beginning of April, Kilmarnock Academy is to introduce a new  initiative to develop and enhance our pupils' learning environment.  Among the measures to be piloted in this innovative experiment will be:  the introduction of exotic plants in corridors and classrooms; soothing  sixties music to be played in corridors and the playground at interval,  lunch and period changes; a new Tropical Room where pupils will be  able to relax and immerse themselves in nature; and the PE Department  will be introducing Yoga classes for disaffected S3 & S4 pupils. Good  pupils will be awarded butterfly badges instead of Triple P certificates  and portions of broccoli will replace punishment exercises. While Flower  Power came a decade too late for Mrs Ford and - being a fan of Perry  Como and early Sir Cliff - she was never really one of the cool kids, she  does remember the way it changed people's attitudes. She hopes that  these new measures will usher in a new age of peace and harmony for  our school.

 A pupil makes the most of his own  learning space with one of the  new, individual concentration  zones. Plans are afoot to  introduce Dual Concentration  Zones for pupils working in pairs.


 In a bid to assist pupils who lack focus and who have difficulty  concentrating with other pupils around them, KA English Department  has come up with an innovative solution. The individual "Concentration  Zones" come flat-packed, for easy storage, and can be easily  constructed to give pupils their own space, free of distractions.

 "The product is still in development," said Miss Templeton, " but we  have some great refinements in mind. Pupils will be able to produce  better quality work and finish it more quickly. With the additional  learning time this creates, pupils will be able to individualise their own  zone and they can even colour it in - an essential part of any English  project. We also have plans to get scented zones to stimulate  creativity and enhance mood - for example I recently used Autumn  Breeze (available at Tesco's) when my class was writing an essay on  autumn and, when the pupils read out their work, I could almost see  the leaves falling."

 You can find out more about this and other exciting, new ideas in the  Ideas in Action section - coming soon to KA Web.


 Do any former pupils or staff out there know if the Gold Berry was  published during the following years? 1976/77/78/79, 1985/86/87,  1990/91/92.

 These gaps within the archives have
come to light because of an  enquiry from a lady concerning her son, a former 1st XV Rugby captain.  She was looking for a team photo for part of her son's birthday  celebrations. Unfortunately, there is no Gold Berry in the archives for  the year concerned and we don't actually know if the magazine was  published in the years listed above. If you have any information or,  even better, any actual Goldberry magazines for the years listed then  please get in touch.

March 2009


We are reaching the end of the busiest, and longest, term of the  session. We have accomplished a great deal in school this session and  we are beginning to bear the scars! When you read of the events,  activities, visits and successes, you will understand why energy levels  are now beginning to dip. The Easter holidays should revive us for the  summer term ahead.
 Carole Ford

 To read our Spring Newsletter click here.


On Wednesday 25 March we held an open evening for primary 7 pupils and parents, to give them a flavour of the delights of Kilmarnock Academy.  The programme for the evening was in four parts: a short information session led by Mrs Ford, an art and design fashion show in the Assembly Hall, display stalls prepared by a number of departments to illustrate their work and a tour of the building, in groups, to see pupils at work in a number of subject areas.  We were delighted to welcome Cllr Ian Linton to the evening, not only the council spokesperson on educational matters but also a former pupil of Kilmarnock Academy.  Refreshments were provided by a team of classroom assistants.Many thanks to everyone who helped to make the evening such a success, including prefects who acted as ushers and tour guides.

Report by Mrs Ford


On a damp Wednesday in March, at an ungodly time in the morning, an intrepid group of 39 pupils (sorry Fraser!) and six staff set off for Edinburgh and an Easy-Jet flight to Malpensa in Italy.
Their mission was to spend three days in Pila, in the Aosta valley, ski-ing and snowboarding.
For some, this was their first attempt at the sport, for others, more experienced, their first time ski-ing abroad.
A pristine, new Holiday Inn Express provided our spacious and comfortable accommodation, with stunning views of the mountains from our huge picture windows. (To read on and view photos click here.)

By our International Reporter, Mrs L Hogg


 Rather cloudy, but apart from a few patches of light drizzle, mainly  across Argyll and high ground, it will be dry.

 Outlook for Wednesday to Friday:
 Bright and mainly dry on Wednesday and Thursday with some sunny  intervals developing. Becoming warmer. Turning cloudier on Friday with  some rain.


Class 1A1
Kilmarnock Academy


 Back in November, Noreen Burnie Finch sent us a photograph of her  father at Kilmarnock Academy along with an e-mail:

 I thought you might like this for your archives.  I wonder do you keep  an archive, have any old records survived.?  I would be pleased to  hear so I might ensure the orginal picture goes back home to Scotland  from Suffolk.

 The original picture, not surprisingly, had some damage (click here). We  have now done a bit of restoration on the original scan and you can  view the full-size, cleaned-up version by clicking on the picture on the  left. Noreen's  father is in the centre of the third row down.

I only attended Kilmarnock Academy for 2 years as I came from Stewarton and in 1978 Stewarton High School only went up to 4th Year. Any pupils wishing to stay on for 5th and 6th Year Studies had to travel to Kilmarnock Academy. In comparison to Stewarton High School the Academy was HUGE and I thought I would never find my way to the appropriate classes!

My short stay at Kilmarnock Academy was great fun though as I made lots of new friends and the teachers made everything seem so interesting. I had already met Mr I’Anson the Maths Teacher while on a short holiday in Arran a year or two before and he recognised me when I started the Academy – how he remembered my face with so many every day I will never know!

I attended a Parents Night with my sister many many years later and Mr Frank Donnelly, who was still Rector at the Academy, asked for former pupils to put their hands up. Of course I never put my hand up as I thought attending for only 2 years I didn’t really qualify – well Mr Donnelly stared straight at me in the large crowd of parents and my hand shot up! I felt like a pupil all over again!

After over 15 years working as a Legal Secretary in various solicitors offices in Glasgow, I eventually became a Foster Carer and now have my own website which is based in Kilmarnock but seems to be growing every day! I was recently allowed on to the Tower at the Academy to take some pictures and video of Kilmarnock and these are now all on URsTV. Many thanks to Mrs Carole Ford for allowing me access and to Mr Stephen King for a tour of the library.

Kilmarnock Academy’s website is absolutely fantastic – well done to all!

Moira Heron (nee Archibald)


 When he received the Nobel prize for medicine in 1945, with Howard  Florey and Ernest Chain, the scientists who worked on the development  of penicillin as a drug, Fleming told the audience: “The time may come  when penicillin can be bought by anyone in the shops. Then there is  the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and, by  exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug, make them  resistant.” To read Richard Wilson's piece from the Sunday Times on  "Fleming's Legacy at Risk..." click here.


 Given that, for some time now, Hemitage Academy has enjoyed the  reputation of being one of the top schools in Scotland, it's interesting  to note that Alexander Cumming, who was Head Teacher at Hermitage  from 1913 to  1926, moved to become Kilmarnock Academy's Head  Teacher in 1926. To understand the attraction of Kilmarnock Academy  in those days and get an idea of why it has built up such a formidable  reputation over the years click here.

 To check out Hermitage Academy's website click here.


Wednesday 18th March was quite a red-letter day for KA - Greenock author Catherine MacPhail came to visit us - along with guests from Doon, James Hamilton and St Joseph's Academies.

Once she'd negotiated Kilmarnock's one way system (and there's an idea for a scary book), Cathy kept over 100 pupils enthralled with her descriptions of some of her best known novels. We learnt how to develop a plot, how characters can change throughout a book, and why "sinister" is such a GOOD WORD!

Cathy finished by signing a huge number of books, posters, diaries and bits of paper, before collapsing into the LRC for a well-earned coffee & cheese and ham roll from the Metro (about which she was most complimentary). 

In the afternoon, Cathy was due to visit Loudoun Academy - but she admitted that anything after the reception she received at KA would be an anticlimax. As she said, "It's not every day I get to meet the author of my Wikipedia entry - and meet the person who's name will feature in my next book!"

Report by Stephen King, School Librarian


 Do any former pupils or staff out there know if the Gold Berry was  published during the following years? 1976/77/78/79, 1985/86/87,  1990/91/92.

 These gaps within the archives have
come to light because of an  enquiry from a lady concerning her son, a former 1st XV Rugby captain.  She was looking for a team photo for part of her son's birthday  celebrations. Unfortunately, there is no Gold Berry in the archives for  the year concerned and we don't actually know if the magazine was  published in the years listed above. If you have any information or,  even better, any actual Goldberry magazines for the years listed then  please get in touch.


 Good Afternoon, I'm Bill McClung (once known as William), one of the  globe-trotting former pupils you refer to, having left KA in 1965 - I now  reside in Oak Park, IL (Illinois) USA... which is famous for some of it's  (former) sons and residents... namely:

 Frank LLoyd Wright - Architecht
 Ernest Hemingway - Author
 Edgar Rice Burroughs - Author
 Dan Castellaneta -  Actor  (best know as the voice of Homer Simpson of "The Simpsons"

 But few folk in Ayrshire will know Oak Park - so we just say Chicago -  although technically we are outside the city limits and are the first  suburb west of the city. (To read on click here.)
 To see Bill being interviewed at work click here.


 This annual event for all S3 pupils was held on Thursday 5th March.  Pupils were split into groups and given tasks to do.
 Each group had two advisers. The Ayrshire Chamber supplied the  advisers along with classroom assistants and students currently  working in the school.

 The first task was to create a poster explaining what they understood  by the question “What is Industry?”(To read more and view photos of  the event click here.)


 Last week we had a really interesting visit from author Jasper Cooper.  Now Jasper's not just your ordinary author - not only did he used to be  a tennis professional, he illustrates his own books, publishes them  himself, and travels everywhere with a cuddly albatross called Neville!

 Jasper spent the whole day at KA, working with a variety of English  classes including the Junior Book Group, and also with the Senior Media  Studies course. (To read more click here.)


 Hi, I am a former KA pupil, having attended the school from 1968-73.  On leaving, I went to Craigie College, Ayr and did a B.Ed in conjunction  with Strathclyde University. After teaching in the Highlands for five  years, I was lucky enough to get a job teaching in the British School in  Islamabad, Pakistan, where I met my husband who is an American  diplomat working in development with the United States Agency for  Intenational Development. Since then I have only returned to Scotland  on vacation and have lived .... (To read on click here.)


 Our librarian, Stephen King, has a blog and it makes interesting and  entertaining reading. This week he has been giving blood:

 "So what did I get up to last night? I had a nice easy lie down for 90  minutes on a bed in Glasgow. And why, I hear you ask? We all thought  you were really busy?

 "Well, once a month I go up to the Blood Donor Centre in Glasgow to  give platelets. Platelet donations are really important - unlike whole  blood, they can only be stored for about a week, so the Blood  Transfusion Service really need a regular supply. Platelets are used to  treat a number of different illnesses and diseases - prematurely born  babies often need a platelet boost, they are used to treat different  types of cancer, and people with a condition called Haemophilia need  platelets. (To read on click here)



 In the course of researching material for this website, I came across an  interesting line in an obituary for former pupil, Jimmy Knapp, taken from  The Independent newspaper. In the report it states that after  attending "Halford" primary school, Jimmy Knapp went on to have an  undistinguished career "at the then excellent Kilmarnock Academy".

 Mrs Ford, in case you want to defend the honour of 21st century KA  and take the author to task - the piece was written by the then  excellent MP, Tam Dalyell, a man known for his forthright expression of  controversial opinions. (To read Jimmy Knapp's obituary click here.)


 Did you know that Kilmarnock Academy has educated three Church of  Scotland Moderators?

 The election, last November, of the Rev William Hewitt as Moderator  Designate of the General Assembly means that the church’s top job has  gone to a former KA pupil for the third time in less than a decade.

 The Rev John Miller held the post in 2001, the year after the Rev  Andrew McLellan, who went on to become Scotland’s inspector of  prisons. (To read more click here.)


 In conjunction with Active Schools East Ayrshire, there will be a  Taggerts Introduction to Cricket held at Kilmarnock Academy on  16/3/09 from 4.00 to 6.00; 'This is an introductory level course aimed  at teaching basic skills for the sport of cricket'.

 If you are interested please contact your Active Schools Coordinator  within EAC or e-mail Jonathan (Juniors) via the contacts page on  Kilmarnock Cricket Club's website. You should give it a try - by the  way, there is no cost for this course.


 Former Kilmarnock Academy pupil, Dr Nicol Peacock is to be added to  our Famous Former Pupils section. Dr Peacock, who died July 19th  2008, was born in Darvel on February 7th 1931 where he started his  education before moving up to Kilmarnock Academy and then Glasgow  University, where he graduated in Physics. Dr Peacock was a pioneering  nuclear physicist who spent his life researching nuclear fusion, the  technology that offers the potential for renewable green energy.
 When he died last year, his obituary appeared in The Times, The  Guardian and The Herald.

February 2009


On Tuesday 24th Feb, some of our better behaved S3 pupils were amongst the first to view the new Grange Academy LRC when they went to meet Catherine Forde, author of Fat Boy Swim, Skarrs, and Sugarcoated, to mention just a few. Catherine scared us all with stories of spooky dogs, how not to clean the optician's window, and definitely how not to prepare chocolate éclairs for your HE teacher (if you really want to know, think floor hygiene!).

Catherine answered a variety of questions from the audience, and was particularly impressed with some new ones that she'd never been asked before.

Mrs Dunsmuir & Mr King said how pleased they were with our pupil's attitude (although Mr King now looks a bit like Pinocchio!).

Report and pictures by Stephen King, School Librarian

Adam Ingram     


Did you know that MSPs Adam Ingram and Murray Tosh are both former pupils of Kilmarnock Academy? Find out more about them by clicking here.

If you know of any other famous or successful former pupils of KA who don't feature on our site, then please get in touch and tell us about them.

Murray Tosh



Does anyone remember visiting the Edinburgh Book Festival?

 Does anyone remember entering a competition to win a signed book by  MG Harris?

 Well, young Master R. McCulloch (2P1) does - because he's won it!

 The picture shows our winner looking incredibly smug, with his prize, an
 uncorrected proof copy of the 2nd part of The Joshua Files series, "Ice
 Shock" - signed by the author. This means that he will be able to read  it before anyone else, as it hasn't actually been published yet.
 However, because it's an uncorrected proof copy, there may be some
 speeling errors in it - so it won't help him with his homework!

 Well done, young man! 

 Report by Stephen King, School Librarian


Lieutenant General Bob Menzies was the United Kingdom’s Surgeon  General, the professional head of the Medical Services of the Royal  Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force, based in the Ministry of  Defence in London. General Menzies was born in Glasgow and attended  Kilmarnock Academy from 1956 to 1961.

 In 1987, he was one of two pathologists who undertook the post  mortem examination of Hitler’s Deputy, Rudolph Hess. To find out more  of the fascinating story of his life and career click here.


If you have ever wondered what Mr King gets up to all day in the Library, then you can find out by checking his blogspot at


 I'm in the process of researching my family history and understand that  my grandfather's twin brother JAMES LYLE, 8 Wallace Street,  Kilmarnock was a one time Principal Art teacher at the Academy. He  died on 28th February 1955, so his tenure would be prior to this. James  Lyle was apparently instrumental in the development of Robert  Colquhoun's artistic talents. (I note he is one of your famous former  pupils). Any additional history you may have regarding James Lyle -  even some form of obituary - would be of great interest, and ultimately  any photographs of James Lyle would be the icing on the cake. (click)


 The time has arrived for all of you KA girls to get fit for life. Mrs Miller  has made it easy for you - just attend the following clubs and you'll  begin to feel the difference!

 S1 - S6 GIRLS
 Monday nights 3.30 – 4.30 Girls Club in PE Department, netball,  rounders, basketball, volleyball – you decide.

 Open to all in upper school.  You must be in PE Department by 1.05 pm.

Not in Kilmarnock.....


 On Monday 2nd February, when thousands of schools around the  country were closed due to heavy snow, it was business as usual at  Kilmarnock Academy. Although there was some very heavy snow at  intervals throughout the morning, by lunchtime most of it had melted  and the roads around the school were clear. So while pupils around the  country had the day off to play in the snow, KA pupils were able to  continue in their quest for knowledge.

January 2009


This year’s Burns’ Supper took place on Thursday 29th January and, as this is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, this year's event was a bit special. Those in attendance enjoyed a three course dinner (choice of steak pie, haggis or a vegetarian option), entertaining speeches, recitals and a ceilidh.

The evening was organized by Miss Templeton, Mrs Dunsmuir and their very able and dynamic band of sixth year helpers - special thanks to them for making the event such a success.

Despite the picture.....
Money doesn't grow on trees!


If you want savings of £10,000 by your 30th birthday:-
You could save 78p a day from age 13
You could save £4.47 a day from age 25
You could save £27 a day from age 29

Mrs Hamilton

(Scary Financial Afterthought: If I am 13 now, by the time turn 30 will my £10k be enough to buy a Happy Meal to celebrate the occasion?)

N McIlvanney


With prelims starting next week, it's worth remembering the Raising Attainment Working Group's advice to parents on how they can help their children as they revise for examinations and the benefits of a detailed revision schedule. Attending Supported Study will also help!
To view the prelim timetable click here.

The following sections of KA Web also provide guidance and support:
English Higher/Int. 2 Study Guide    
Helping your child to Revise at Home  

 In case you didn't make it to the  newsagents' this morning, you can  catch up on all the news and  headlines here on KA Web. Click  the picture on the left to access  everything from the Daily Record  to the Guardian.

 If you have time, you should also  check out the MAGAZINE RACK  (right) where you will be sure to  find something to appeal to - or  develop - your interests.

As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of Burns, Learning and Teaching Scotland will be developing their Homecoming 2009 website. It is hoped that this will help "children and young people develop a real appreciation of Scotland's development, culture and contribution to the rest of the world". To check it out, click here.

Kilmarnock Academy will be participating in Homecoming 2009.

 Pupils returned to school on Monday 5th January at 8.55am - for many  of them, the first time they had seen 8.55am in over two weeks.

 We would like to wish all staff, pupils, former pupils, friends and visitors  to our site a very happy and prosperous New Year.

December 2008






 School closes at 2.30 pm on Friday 19 December.  At period 5 all pupils  should report to the Assembly Hall, not to classes.  The annual showing  of Shrek will be held then. 

 Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
 Back to school on Monday 5 January at 8.55 am.



The last time we had a Spot the Differences some people said it was too easy.... so this one is just a bit more challenging. There are 20 differences in all. Click on the pictures below if you want to scrutinize them more closely.


To the principal,staff and students of Kilmarnock Academy:

What a delight it was cruising across the internet to come across the website of the Kilmarnock Academy's proud legacy of former students - servicemen and women of WW1 and WW2. It is beautifully done , and most impressive to me. I am originally from Hilton of Cadboll and had four family members lost in the 2 World Wars , 3 MacAngus men and one Tarrel , my mom's cousin , her brother , and the brothers of both my grandmother and grandfather. My grandmothers other brother was a Black  Watch Lt. wounded in action who recovered and became a headmaster at schools in Tarland, Aberdeenshire, and Portmahomack, Fearn, Ross-shire. (To read more, click here)


Early warning (Mrs Hogg)
Tempest Photography will be coming to school on Tuesday 6th January 2009.  S1-S4 will be having class photos taken, S5 will have a year group photo taken and S6 will have a year group and individual photos taken.

Pupils should report to normal classes and then go to the assembly hall as follows:

 S1 – P1       S2 – P2       S3- P3        S4 – P4      All S5 and S6 – P5

Pupils will return to class as soon as their photograph has been taken.  School uniform should be worn.  This early information will allow you to plan your showering, hair cuts and hair washing!  Remember your comb/brush on the day.

S5 France/Belgium Trip – 21st June 2009 (Mr Reid)
Passport forms and photographs need to be returned as soon as possible for the above trip.  The third payment for the trip is now due.

For more details and events click here.

TRIP TO PARIS - NOVEMBER 23rd & 24th 2008

21 pupils studying Higher, Advanced Higher and Intermediate 2 French went to Paris for two days accompanied by three teachers and our French Assistant, Geneviève.  Mrs Stables organised the trip with the help of Mrs Nicolson and Mr Kirkland from the technical department also came along to help out. 

We packed plenty of sightseeing into our two days and visited L’arc de triomphe, walked down the Champs Élysées (in the snow and sleet!), saw the Mona Lisa in the Louvre and also marvelled at the inverted pyramid.  We heard mass sung in Notre Dame and enjoyed a fantastic meal in a typical French bistro.  The second day, the weather was much better and we had a perfect day! (To read on and view more photos, click here.)

Report by Mrs Stables

"What's the funny green thingy?"
"They're really good ... watch me.."
"Should've got the chips'n'cheese..."


As the Christmas season approaches, some of our second year English pupils have been expressing their thoughts on Holidays. To find out what they think, click here.

Winter: the Festive Season
The Festive Season
One of the best holidays kids love is Halloween because of the bright, shining pumpkin lanterns glowing on the window sills. One of the best bits about Halloween for kids is going out to the shops and buying their scary costumes. The main event the kids look forward to in Halloween is trick or treating, this is where the costumes come in handy because the kids go out scaring old ladies and telling them jokes to get their toffee apples and chocolate bars...
(Read more)

Every Year we enjoy a good holiday. We love an excuse to get off of school or work and enjoy a  relaxing holiday. There’s Easter, Halloween and the big summer break, but the one we all love is the warm winter fire of December. The shimmering gold, the glistening lights and the sweet smell of frankincense and myrrh we all call Christmas.         
As the end of the year draws near, children all around the world anticipate....
(Read more)

We all love the count down to Christmas especially the 1st of December where the children get to open the first doors of their advent calendars, some children get chocolate others may get sweets. Through out the month of December many children will write their mile long letters to Santa, while some parents might even take their children to see him, in his crimson red suit with his white fluffy beard and jet-black boots glistening in the light.....
(Read more)

Aaron Ng
Cameron Tasker
Katie Fenwick

Events in the Year

It’s that time of the year again that many children enjoy…and many parents dread. The excitement is understandable as Christmas only comes once a year. However, the downside to all of this excitement is that many children become competitive and greedy about toys and therefore forget what Christmas is really all about. They also put their parents under immense pressure because the prices are high, especially for toys that are scarce. (Read more)

Everyone loves Christmas, it’s official - from the depressed workers, run off their feet, in Lidl to the “well-to-do” who simply can’t be seen there. Each little detail adds up to that special day: putting up the Christmas tree, wrapping the presents, having to get a better Advent Calendar than everyone else - all these little things make that 24 hour day seem much bigger than it actually is. So enjoy it while you can because soon enough it will be Boxing Day... (Read more)

We all should love most of the events in the year even though we don’t know some of them but we love most of the ones we do know. Kids love their birthdays, Easter for the chocolate eggs and Christmas for the presents while the adults enjoy the Summer for the kids to run outside and they get some peace for once in the year if the sun actually comes out for once but the events we all love are Halloween and New year.

(Read more)

Ryan Love
Rachel McIlvanney
Calum Cameron

 If you are in S4 and you really want to have a Merry Christmas and a  Happy New Year, then we strongly recommend that you consult your  prelim timetable now and ensure that you turn up for each of your  exams in plenty of time and properly prepared. Remember, these exams  will help to determine your future - no pressure, you understand.  Click  here to get organised. Also  check out:

 Helping your child to Revise at Home  &  S Grade English Study Guide


 The Kilmarnock Christmas lights were switched on last Sunday and  those in attendance were able to enjoy a packed entertainment  programme with the "street party" starting at 2pm. The Kilmarnock  Standard has all the details of what was on (click here).

 The Standard is also promoting the campaign to support local business,  in conjunction with East Ayrshire Council's ongoing efforts to  regenerate the town centre. If you are in town during December then  you really should check out what the local retailers have to offer.


 On the afternoon of Thursday, 27th November, Kilmarnock Academy  staged the Celebrating Success Tea Party. The purpose of the event  was to recognize just some of the hard work put in by staff and pupils  as well as to highlight some of the success stories happening within  Kilmarnock Academy.

 As well as being attended by visitors from outwith the school, the  event was attended by many members of staff.


It was good to hear from former pupil Siobhan Beck who painted the Kilmarnock mural in Mr Dickson's room, way back in 2000. The mural is still adding some colour and style to Mr Dickson's lessons and many pupils still ask about the artist and the contents of the picture. The mural featured in The Scotsman and also made the front page of the more prestigious Kilmarnock Standard click here.

To find out what Siobhan is up to these days click here.

 At the moment, I am trying to do some major, behind-the-scenes  maintenance on KA Web. As there are currently over 800 pages on the  site, there's a strong possibility that I may miss some corrections or  updates. If you spot anything that requires fixing or updating then  please e-mail me  (

 One problem I am aware of with the site is that the drop-down menu  fails to appear in certain web browsers and on some machines. If any  experts, tech-heads or general computer wizards out there can point  to a solution - or recommend a web-menu software that works with all  the main browsers - then please get in touch.

 Neil McIlvanney


A new section, KA WRITERS' WINDOW, will be added to KA Web soon. This section will feature the creative writing of pupils - although submissions from parents, staff and former pupils will also be welcome. To get a taste of what's to come, you can click on the pieces of writing below. The pupils - who produced the work in class - had to write a short piece about a special place and try to bring it to life for the reader. The pieces were written last year by members of 1P3 (now 2P3). To view more writing, click here.

October/November 2008


Hi everyone.
I came across the website and I think it is fantastic.  I attended KA from 1995-2000.  I can't believe the change in staffing and it would be lovely to see some old faces on the site.  From the age of 14 onwards I would tell my guidance teacher at the time, Mr. Kerr that I wanted to be an air-steward and I did fly for 3 years.  I'm currently doing my Nursing degree at UWS in Hamilton and I have one year left to complete, then I will be set free in to the wards, what a scary thought!!!  To earn money whilst I'm studying, I work for a homeless association.  I really love this work and it is very rewarding (it pays not too bad also). 
Anyway hi to all of the staff who remember me and to any former pupils who come for a look. 
Gavin Morrison
p.s. my side kick and partner in crime, Greig McMurray also says hi!!!  


As part of the programme for Children in Need, Miss Templeton arranged an afternoon of fine entertainment and what a good job she made of it! The judges for the event - Mrs Mckenzie, Mrs Dunsmuir and Mr Reid - were well impressed by the acts on show although some of Mr Reid's comments and views attracted a hostile response - something he's used to, being a Rangers supporter living in Coatbridge. To view more photos of the event click here.

Some winning contestants

Hughie Walsh & Granni Minogue

More talented contestants


Friday was the big day – and everyone dug deep in their pockets for Children in Need!

  • It was a non-uniform day – pay £1 at registration to wear what you like!
  • Kilmarnock Academy’s got Talent, Friday periods 5 and 6.
  • Pudsey Stickers were on sale in the foyer at interval and lunch – only 10p each.
  • Pudsey Cakes were on sale in the foyer.
  • Guess Pudsey’s Birthday to win Pudsey – 20p a go!

Remember this was all for a very good cause, and thanks for giving generously! We raised an amazing £1,733.79.

Miss Templeton


Over 130 pupils and staff took part in the recent bag-packing event at Asda in Kilmarnock and they came in fancy dress because it was Hallowe’en. They did us proud and were complimented on their appearance and attitude. (To view more photos of the event click here.)

L. Hamilton

Mrs McFarlane

Mrs Hamilton

Mrs Ford & Miss Templeton


This time last year, we added the K.A. War Memorial to our website. While former pupils of K.A. will be familiar with the War Memorial in the Old Academy Hall, most probably were not aware of the fact that, after each world war the staff and pupils at K.A. compiled a booklet of "Short Biographical Notices of the Old Boys that fell" during the conflicts. These tributes were scanned by Dr Neil Dickson and uploaded to our website by myself. Our Memorial also contains work by pupils and photographs of Mr Reid's school trip
to visit the trenches. If you have not yet viewed this section of our website, you should do so.

Neil McIlvanney


 My father was James Dempsey Burnie, he is in the center of the 3rd  row down.I thought you might like this for your archives. 

 I wonder do you keep an archive, have any old records survived.?  I  would be pleased to hear so I might ensure the orginal picture goes  back home to Scotland from Suffolk. 
 Noreen Burnie Finch


 Kilmarnock Academy held a Finance Week at the end of October. The  aim was to focus on money matters, not only because of the current  “credit crunch”, but to increase awareness of how much things cost.  Pupils were made aware of how much more things cost when borrowing  was involved.

 Every pupil in the school was given a “cash tracker” to keep for the  week. This was a money diary ... (to read more click here)


 It's firework time again and, of  course, we all know what we're doing  - so did the 69 UK fireworks  casualties in Oct/ Nov 2006. If you  think you know the score, then try to  guess the other rules in the Fireworks  Code (there are another 9 of them).  Click the picture (left) to see if you  were correct.


The Herald newspaper group is running a competition to find the best description of where to have fun in Scotland.  You can win £1000 for yourself and £5000 for the school.  You simply have to write a short description (a paragraph or two at the most) of a good place to visit or spend time (eg Mr Fyffe's class, the Burns Mall, the Smokey Mountains).
To enter go to


Book tokens (Mrs Ford)
The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers are running a book token scheme for schools.  If you collect and hand in the token from these newspapers we can claim free books.  Please hand in tokens to Reception.

Past papers (Mrs Ford)
Any senior pupil who has past paper books they no longer require is kindly requested to hand them in to Reception.  These will be distributed to departments to use them for current classes.  Thank you in advance for your (anticipated) generosity.

For more details and events click here.


Hi To all,
I dont know if you will remember me but I was flicking through the website and it's looking great - except the picture of me playing my clarinet. I remember that day I was practising for my exam and Mr McIlvanney popped his head round with the camera!
Just thought I would pop by and leave a wee e-mail to say thanks for putting up with me - don't know how you did, lol. I am now working in beechams catering department and loving it. I am starting management training soon and can't wait.
My wee sister is now at kilmarnock academy and she says it's great. All my best memories are there from young life and I would do it again if I could - but actually do the work this time.
Say hi to Mrs Timmons for me - one of the teachers I remember the most - and my computing teacher Miss Wilson but I dont think she is there now.
Thanks for all your support - I wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for my techers at Kilmarnock Academy.
Danielle Mackenzie (2000-2004)


Alright teachers,
I'm doing my HND Photography & Digital Imaging now at a young seventeen years old. I'm also on chapter thirteen of my own novel, which I hope to have published someday, and in the coming years, after I sit my HND, I'm hoping to move to either Yokohama or Tokyo. I just want to say that I couldn't have gotten where I am today without the help and advice of my teachers. In particular, Mr Rigg, my guidance teacher who seemed to have endless amounts of patience.
I want to mention Mrs Ogg, Mr Reidford, Ms Fullerton and Mrs Lightbown in particular. All of my teachers have helped me throughout the years, but they're the ones who come to mind. I didn't always get on with some of you, but you each inspired me in different ways, and helped push me forward.
It actually saddens me when I see my friends who are still at school always complaining about how much they hate it and want to leave. It didn't take me long to realise that your school days are the best days of your teenage years. I have one friend in particular who has no respect for education, and it's sad to say, but if you don't stick in at school and try your best, you're limiting your chances of being successful in later life. I learnt that the hard way when I got my standard grade results through. While I did mostly well, I realised that there were two subjects in particular I could have tried much harder at. I knuckled down in 5th year, and after an art portfolio course, I got into an HND. I'm doing something I thoroughly enjoy and without education, I wouldn't be where I am.
I don't know what I'm trying to say here. I just want all the pupils who don't take school seriously and think they 'hate' their teachers to listen to me. I see it too often, young kids who go out and get drunk, and don't give a damn about schoolwork. Most of them are setting themselves back for the future. I'm not speaking as someone who used to go on like that, I'm speaking as someone who's had friends like that, and I've watched them fall further and further behind in coursework, and really regret it afterwards.
Education is one of the most imporant things in life. It's all good to say you can go and resit everything at college, but why resit when you could maybe have passed first time? College is fine, but there's something special about your school days that you can only really appreciate when you've left and moved on.
I just hope that some of you will read this and have a think, and then try a little bit harder.


 School closed for the October holiday on Friday 10th.  Staff returned  for an in-service day on Monday 20th October and pupils returned the  following day.  Whether you manage to get away for a bit or just stay  at home and potter around, we hope all pupils,  parents and staff had  an enjoyable break.

 The term running up to Christmas is always a busy one. You can find  out what lies ahead by
checking our School Calendar.


"Hey, just a quick e-mail to let you know that I am having an awesome  time out here in the U.S.A. The basketball is going well along with my  subjects and I am enjoying the American life style of eating, sleeping  and playing sports.

 Yours faithfully, Stuart Gallacher"

 Stuart, an extremely talented sportsman & a gifted musician, is one of  the good guys and we wish him well!

Ah! the wonderful memories of Kilmarnock Academy. Our family did not have much which was the way of many in the early 70's but the camaraderie at Kilmarnock Academy helped diminish any shortcomings we may have had.  I am Lillian McGhie (Doran) and enjoyed my time at the great school with many many friends. Starting out with Mr. James Hyslop and advancing to Mr. Frank Donnelly, with very fond memories of all the teaching staff.

I am now the owner of an environmental air pollution control company based in St. Catharines Ontario Canada and have a wonderfully talented 16 year old daughter.  I did travel to Kilmarnock on a regular basis before the passing of my parents and always made that nostalgic stop at the Old School. Sad to see the apartments as we had so much fun in the Music department down there.  I could go on forever, but to all of the Students today enjoy our wonderful school. It was a pleasure and a wonderful honour to have attended such a grand institution.

Fond memories of Mrs Torrance who forced me to improve those office skills that I still use today in my own business.
Lillian J. McGhie


A new section, KA WRITERS' WINDOW, will be added to KA Web soon. This section will feature the creative writing of pupils - although submissions from parents, staff and former pupils will also be welcome. To get a taste of what's to come, you can click on the pieces of writing below. The pupils - who produced the work in class - had to write a short piece about a special place and try to bring it to life for the reader. The pieces were written last year by members of 1P3 (now 2P3). To view more writing, click here.

August/September 2008


S4 pupils have had the opportunity to go on work experience during the last fortnight. The placements ranged from a residential week with the army to a single day out with a school's music instructor. Pupils who did not go on work experience had the chance to do an Employability course with Careers Scotland.

Report & pictures by Lesley Hamilton


Click on the maps below to see what Kilmarnock was like in days gone by.


 School was closed for the September weekend holiday on Friday 19th  and  Monday 22nd September.  The weather was pleasant compared  with summer of rain we have endured this year and we hope all pupils,  parents and staff had a pleasant weekend.

 You can check this week's weather forecast at:

 Quick-Quiz - Where were the weekend pictures below taken?


Alan, after posting his letter to Santa.

Siobhan: "Check my blue nails!"

Lewis - "Alan can't help it..."

Concentration, as Alan chair-dances.

Ms Fullerton does the Hokey Cokey.

You work - and we'll watch.


 The Technical Education section of KA Web has been completely  revamped  and now features a whole range of activities to keep you  occupied during  the long winter that lies ahead. As well as a wide  range of homework and  research activities, you will find many pictures  of pupils and their creations.

 Special thanks is due to Mr Campbell who spent a lot of hours fixing up  the existing pages and adding new materials. Well done that man! Start  exploring the world of Technical Education by clicking here.


 Local band Energy played an open air gig at Kilmarnock town centre on  Saturday 6th. The band (S5 pupils Ross Leighton, Marc Strain and Greg  Walkinshaw) provided locals with a welcome diversion from the usual  Saturday routine and they went down really well. You can find out  more about the band at:

 Energy at and


You can read the latest Standards and Quality Report by clicking here.


To see all of our new members of staff click here.

Ms MacInnes - ICT Bus. Studies

Mr Christie - PT Physics

Miss Brown - English


Alan writes his letter to Santa

Adele gets Charlie in a headlock

Dangerous? Not on a football pitch


Does any one else remember July 1953, for some of us our last day at the Academy, when we lifted the Tech. Master's Austin Seven on to the half-landing, and quietly dispersed?

As a memento I had just had this photo taken of me on the steps, when someone had the bright idea of lifting the car on to the half-landing just inside the door. There was no shortage of willing helpers, and it only took a couple of minutes.

The master took it in good part. We generously volunteered to lift it back down, and he had us "volunteer" to give it a wash to remove the mass of sticky fingerprints. The photo shows him supervising our efforts.

Jimmy Murray.

August/September 2008


You can start getting organised for the coming session by checking out what lies ahead in the recently updated school calendar. This year we have included exam times, parents' nights and even school assemblies in addition to the usual information on term dates and holidays.


 The holidays are over. Pupils returned to school on Thursday 14th  August and staff returned on Wednesday 13th.

 We would like to offer a special welcome to all our new pupils at K.A.  and wish all of our pupils - new and old - good luck in the coming  session. (Although you should remember that success is more to do  with having a positive attitude and a healthy workrate than it is to do  with luck).

Kilmarnock Academy youngsters feature in a new film about the changing nation of Scotland alongside such luminaries as the Proclaimers, Carol Smillie, Blythe Duff (of Taggart fame) and broadcaster Kaye Adams.

Pupils of Loanhead Primary and Kilmarnock Academy speak in the entertaining short film, as well as teachers Gus Kerr (Kilmarnock Academy), John Kellie (Loudoun Academy) and the Council’s Cultural Co-ordinator Elaine Scott.Also featured are local heroes – author William McIlvanney, cartoonist Malky McCormick, actress Gwyneth Guthrie and artist Eoghann MacColl – telling it like it is.

One Nation, Five Million Voices was produced by National Museums Scotland to explore a changing nation through the lives of ordinary and extraordinary Scots. The Ayrshire section was filmed in Kilmarnock Academy.

The uplifting and humorous film presents a cross-section of people giving their personal views on what it means to be Scottish, or to live and work in Scotland. It features a collection of pupils, families, students and adults from all across the nation and from all walks of life, as well as many Scottish celebrities, musicians and actors. 

This film is on show in the newly-opened gallery, Scotland: A Changing Nation at National Museum of Scotland, Chambers St, Edinburgh. It can also be viewed online, by logging on to or visiting the One Nation, Five Million voices page at Google Video.

Report by Elaine Scott


Even though school was out for summer, it was business as usual for some keen young artists recently.

Twenty teenagers from schools across East Ayrshire attended Art & Design Summer School in Kilmarnock Academy, where they improved their drawing and painting skills. Classes were led by acclaimed portrait painter Andrew Ratcliffe, from Appleby, Cumbria.

The young East Ayrshire artists enjoyed working alongside a professional artist and learned a lot about painting from life, using a model, rather than from photographs. This intensive course will help the students with future work in their Higher or Advanced Higher Art & Design courses.

Andrew Ratcliffe has painted portraits of members of the royal family, including Prince Charles and Princes William and Harry; he has also painted other well-known people such as Neil Kinnock and Ken Dodd and his paintings hang in galleries in the UK, USA, Australia and Europe.

His commissioned work is represented in The Royal Collection, National Portrait Gallery, National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside, House of Commons, Private Collection of the Prince of Wales and private collections in the UK and abroad.

The artwork produced during this summer school will be exhibited in the Schools Art & Design Exhibition in January 2009 in the Young People’s Gallery in The Dick, Kilmarnock.

Report by Elaine Scott