Many schools pride themselves on their heritage and tradition, but few, if any, can trace their roots back as far as The High School of Glasgow, which in 2024 will celebrate 900 years since its founding

Birthdays are significant: marking the passage of time and celebrating another year of existence is hard-wired into humans.

It’s no different for institutions, with each passing year it’s important to take stock and reflect on how far you’ve come, while setting sights on the future. This is particularly relevant for

The High School of Glasgow which celebrates its 900th anniversary in 2024, recognising its commonly accepted foundation date of 1124.

The school was founded as the Sang School of Glasgow Cathedral, making it the oldest, continuous school in Scotland.

The Herald:

Over the course of 900 years, the school has evolved and flourished in tandem with the city of Glasgow, establishing its place in the story of Glasgow. It has existed in many guises: a choir school, a Grammar School for boys, an equivalent school for girls, a fee-paying corporation school, and then, following policy decisions to end selective fee-paying schools, it faced the prospect of closure in the 1970s.

The determination and generosity of former pupils saved the school: together they raised £635,000 (equivalent to £4m in today’s money) and The High School of Glasgow, as it is known today, came into being as an independent, coeducational, fee-paying day school for children aged three to 18. 

Commenting on this milestone, Rector John O’Neill, said: “I’ve been asking myself lately how a school comes to be 900 years old? What is it about its story, its purpose, its place in society, that has allowed it to endure?

It rests on two key features: first, the underpinning existence of values and ethos which resonate in promoting good in one’s own life and good in society, values which are worth keeping alive and passing on and that have a place in people’s hearts. The second, is the ability to anticipate and adapt to the changing mores and contexts of society, whilst still being anchored by its values and ethos. 

“As well as celebrating this milestone and how far we’ve come, we must keep our eye on the future to ensure we are equipping children and young people with the skills necessary for an ever-changing world.

“Such an approach is fitting for a school founded in a cathedral, a building which, takes decades and often centuries, with different architectural tastes along the way, to complete. We need to keep to our own cathedral thinking as part of 900 years and beyond, and to our enduring values and ethos.”

The Herald:

Today, the High School continues to build on its 900 years by offering a place where all children excel, whether in the classroom, on the sports field, on stage, in the art department, or across a mixture of the above. It’s a place grounded in history that delivers innovative education within a diverse community.

It’s a place where children find the joy of learning, the confidence to try new things and, importantly, to be themselves. 

The High School of Glasgow holds Open Events for its Junior and Senior School in November. Tours are available year-round. 
Email to organise a tour.


  • This article was brought to you in association with The High School of Glasgow