St John's Roman Catholic High School
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St John's Roman Catholic High School

St John's RC High School
St John's RC High School Badge.png
Harefield Road

MottoAd Caelos
"To the Heavens"
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
FounderMarist Brothers
Local authorityDundee City Council
Head TeacherFiona McLagan
Depute Head Teacher
Rebecca Lapadula
Wendy Sinclair
Staff80 FTE[1]
Age11 to 18
Enrolment1,030 [1]
Houses3 Dunkeld
Colour(s)Black, Blue, White

St John's Roman Catholic High School is a secondary school in Dundee, Scotland. It was founded early in 1931 by the Marist Brothers, a religious congregation dedicated to education and under the patronage of the Virgin Mary. The school had 8 houses named after abbeys in Scotland: Balmerino, Melrose, Jedburgh, Lindores, Paisley, Kelso, Iona and Dunkeld. In July 2011, the House system was streamlined to three: Dunkeld, Jedburgh, and Melrose.

As of 2018, the school has an enrolment of 1,030 students,[1] and although Catholic in outlook, welcomes all religious backgrounds, and none. Alongside core subjects such as English, Mathematics, Religious Education and P.E., St John's offers a wide range of subjects including Classical Studies, Drama, Modern Studies, Philosophy and Technological Studies. Courses are available at a wide range of levels including National levels 3, 4 and 5 as well as Higher and Advanced Higher in most subjects.

In October 2010, Mr George Haggarty retired as rector and Ms Fiona McLagan assumed the role, becoming the first ever female rector of St. John's. Ms McLagan has concentrated on improving St John's' performance in the league tables, particularly through trying to decrease lateness.


The Marist Brothers came to Dundee in 1860 and directed the three Roman Catholic primary schools in the city (St Andrew's, Our St Mary's Forebank, St Joseph's). At that time, Catholic secondary education was provided by the Sisters of Mercy at Lawside Academy for both boys and girls.

In 1916, the managers of the Dundee Catholic schools invited the Brothers to undertake the direction of a secondary school for boys in the city. It was proposed that alterations were made to the Brothers' house in Forebank and a new house built for them. This plan was agreed by the Provincial Council of the Brothers, and by 1918 everything was ready for the final steps to be taken. However, when the 1918 Education Act came into force, the diocesan schools were handed over to the local authorities, and the plans for a secondary school for boys came to naught.

In 1931, a new "Central School" was set up to take the boys and girls of post-primary age who did not continue to Lawside Academy. It was to replace the Supplementary Classes, or Advanced Division, which had been housed in the various primary schools. The new school was to be called St John's (after John the Apostle) and the Marist Brothers were asked to run the establishment. The new school was started in buildings in Park Place, which had recently been vacated by Harris Academy. Occasionally some classes took place in Artillery Lane and Daniel Street.

On 1 November 1967, 19-year-old Robert Mone entered a needlework class taken by teacher Nanette Hanson. He was armed with a shotgun and for 1 and half hours subjected the teacher and her pupils to a terrifying ordeal. It culminated in the murder of Nanette Hanson.[2]

In 1978 two former pupils broke into the school and set fire to the main hall causing extensive damage. The main school hall was completely destroyed.


On 15 November 2004, plans for a £11.5 million refurbishment and extension to the Harefield Road building were submitted to the Education Committee of Dundee City Council.[3] Reconstruction took place between October 2004[4] and October 2006, with the work being carried out by Muirfield (Contracts) Ltd of Dundee. During this time, the school was decanted to the nearby former Rockwell High building on Lawton Road. The demolition of the 3 storey teaching block made way for the construction of a new four-storey building, which, apart from classrooms, also includes a 25-metre 5 lane swimming pool, fitness suite, games hall, community wing and dance studio.[5] The new block contained classrooms for a number of subjects including English, Mathematics, Art, History, Religious Education, Modern Studies, Geography, Computing and Business Studies. Included was a new library, staff room, offices, drama studio and multi-purpose 'learning centre'. The block to the east of the new building was renamed the Iona block and was extensively refurbished and now contains the Science laboratories and the Home Economics rooms. The new building was officially re-opened by Cardinal O'Brien on 15 February 2007, with a final cost of £12.5 million.[6]

In 2012, the school was selected as the Dundee base for the Scottish Football Association's Performance Schools, a system devised to support the development of the best young talented footballers across the country (there are seven such schools across Scotland). As of 2018, the dedicated coach for the young players at St John's is Iain Jenkins.[7]

Notable former pupils


  1. ^ a b c "St John's RC High School Pupil & Teacher roll". Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ "News". Evening Telegraph. Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  3. ^ "Dundee City Council, Scotland, Council Minutes". Retrieved 2012.
  4. ^ "St John's is on the move". Archived from the original on 9 April 2005. Retrieved 2009.
  5. ^ "Major Works". Muirfield Contracts. Retrieved 2012.
  6. ^ "News". Evening Telegraph. 15 February 2007. Retrieved 2012.
  7. ^ "JD Performance Schools: St John's High School - Dundee". Scottish Football Association. Retrieved 2018.

Coordinates: 56°28?31?N 2°59?46?W / 56.47528°N 2.99611°W / 56.47528; -2.99611

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