:''For the A-listed building on Calton Hill, see Old Royal High School, Edinburgh.''
The Royal High School (RHS) of Edinburgh is a co-educational school administered by the City of Edinburgh Council. The school was founded in 1128 and is one of the oldest schools in Scotland. It serves 1,200 pupils drawn from four feeder primaries in the north-west of the city: Blackhall, Clermiston, Cramond and Davidson's Mains.
The school's profile has given it a flagship role in education, piloting such experiments as the introduction of the Certificate of Secondary Education, the provision of setting in English and mathematics, and the curricular integration of European Studies and the International Baccalaureate.〔John Murray, ''A History of the Royal High School''. Edinburgh, Royal High School, 1997, pp. 117–119.〕 The Royal High School was last inspected by HMIE in April 2007.〔(The Royal High School Edinburgh Inspection 04/09/2007 ), Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education. Retrieved 3 November 2007.〕
The rector is Pauline Walker who replaced Jane Frith, the first woman to head the school.
The Royal High School is, by one reckoning, the 18th-oldest school in the world, with a history of almost 900 years.〔Royal High School Club, (History of the Club (June 2008). ) Accessed 24 September 2008.〕 Historians associate its birth with the flowering of the 12th century renaissance. It first enters the historical record as the seminary of Holyrood Abbey, founded for Alwin and the Augustinian canons by David I in 1128.
The Grammar School of the Church of Edinburgh, as it was known by the time Adam de Camis was rector in 1378, grew into a church-run burgh institution providing a Latin education for the sons of landed and burgess families, many of whom pursued careers in the church.〔Elizabeth Ewan, ''Town Life in Fourteenth-Century Scotland''. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1990, pp. 12, 131. ISBN 0-7486-0151-1.〕
In 1505 the school was described as a "high school", the first recorded use of this term in either Scotland or England.〔James J. Trotter, ''The Royal High School, Edinburgh'' (London: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1911), p. 186.〕〔J. B. Barclay, ''The Tounis Scule: The Royal High School of Edinburgh'' (Edinburgh: Royal High School Club, 1974), p. 137.〕 In 1566, following the Reformation, Mary, Queen of Scots, transferred the school from the control of Holyrood Abbey to the Town Council of Edinburgh, and from about 1590 James VI accorded it royal patronage as the ''Schola Regia Edimburgensis'', or King's School of Edinburgh.〔Murray, ''History'', p. 142.〕
In 1584 the Town Council informed the rector, Hercules Rollock, that his aim should be "to instruct the youth in pietie, guid maneris, doctrine and letteris".〔William C. A. Ross, the ''Royal High School'' (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1934), p. 74.〕 As far as possible, instruction was carried out in Latin. The study of Greek began in 1614,〔Ross, ''Royal High School'', p. 41.〕 and geography in 1742.〔Ross, ''Royal High School'', pp. 46, 144.〕 The egalitarian spirit of Scotland and the classical tradition exerted a profound influence on the school culture and the Scottish Enlightenment.〔Murray, ''History'', pp. 39–40.〕
The Romantic era at the turn of the 19th century was for Scotland a golden age of literature, winning the Royal High School an international reputation and an influx of foreign students, among them French princes.〔Murray, ''History'', p. 52.〕 The historian William Ross notes: "Walter Scott stood head and shoulders above his literary contemporaries; the rector, Alexander Adam, held a similar position in his own profession."〔Ross, ''Royal High School'', p. 11.〕 By the end of the Napoleonic Wars, an old scholar remembered, 'there were boys from Russia, Germany, Switzerland, the United States, Barbadoes, St. Vincent, Demerara, the East Indies, besides England and Ireland.'〔Ross, ''Royal High School'', p. 58.〕 The Royal High School was used as a model for the first public high school in the United States, the English High School of Boston, in 1821.
Learning Greek ceased to be compulsory in 1836, and the time allotted to its study was reduced in 1839 as mathematics became recognised.〔Barclay, ''Tounis Scule, p. 18.〕 The curriculum was gradually broadened to include French (1834),〔Trotter, ''Royal High School'', p. 190.〕〔Ross, ''Royal High School'', pp. 58, 145.〕 after-hours fencing and gymnastics (1843),〔Ross, ''Royal High School'', pp. 59, 145.〕 German (1845),〔〔 science (1848),〔 drawing (1853),〔Trotter, ''Royal High School'', p. 191.〕 military drill (1865),〔Ross, ''Royal High School'', p. 146.〕 English (1866),〔〔Ross, ''Royal High School'', pp. 66, 145.〕 gymnastics as a formal subject and swimming (1885),〔 music (1908),〔Ross, ''Royal High School'', pp. 69, 147.〕 and history (1909).〔Ross, ''Royal High School'', p. 70.〕 In 1866 classical masters were confined to teaching Latin and Greek.〔 A modern and commercial course was introduced in 1873.〔Ross, ''Royal High School'', pp. 66–7, 146.〕〔Barclay, ''Tounis Scule, p. 140.〕 A school choir was instituted in 1895.〔Ross, ''Royal High School'', pp. 69, 146.〕
Through the centuries, the school has been located at many sites throughout the city, including the Vennel of the Church of St. Mary in the Fields (c. 1503 – c. 1516); Kirk o' Field Wynd (c. 1516–1555); Cardinal Beaton’s House in Blackfriars Wynd (1555–1569); the Collegiate Church of St. Giles or St. Mary in the Fields (1569–1578); Blackfriars monastery (1578–1777); High School Yards (1777–1829); the famous Regent Road building on Calton Hill (1829–1968); and Jock's Lodge (1931–1972). The Jock's Lodge site is now the Royal High Primary, and is no longer associated with the secondary school.
For many years the school maintained a boarding facility for pupils from outside Edinburgh. The boarders ranged in age from six to eighteen. The House, as it was known, was located at 24 Royal Terrace and in later years moved to 13 Royal Terrace. When the boarding house was closed the records of all boarders, the artefacts such as the board with the names of head boys, and the memorial to boarders killed in the 1939–1945 war, were lost.
The Royal High School moved to its current site at Barnton in 1968, vacating the Old Royal High School buildings. In 1973 it became a co-educational state comprehensive. The school's premises underwent extensive refurbishment between 2001 and 2003, funded by a £10 million public-private partnership project with Amey plc.〔Mark Smith, (City school's private cash revamp stalls ), ''The Scotsman'' (13 November 2002).〕〔Ian Fraser, "£360m schools project row goes to high court", ''Sunday Herald'' (Glasgow, 10 July 2005).〕
File:Blackfriars_Wynd.jpg|Cardinal Beaton’s House, Blackfriars Wynd (1555–1569)
File:High School, Blackfriars 1578.jpg|Blackfriars Monastery (1578–1777)
File:High School, Infirmary Street, 1777.jpg|High School Yards (1777–1829)
File:High School, Calton Hill, 1829.jpg|Regent Road, Calton Hill (1829–1968)
File:Royal High School, Barnton, Edinburgh.jpg|Barnton (1968–present)
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