Kirkwall, which is home to around 9,000 people, has officially been a Royal Burgh since 1486 and enjoys a skyline dominated by the magnificent 12th century St Magnus Cathedral. The town centre supports a diverse and distinctive range of businesses, with independent retailers forming the heart of the town. The town has officially been recognised as Scotland’s most beautiful high street, winning a public vote in 2019 as part of a national competition run by Keep Scotland Beautiful and Scotland’s Towns Partnership.
The town also provides a transport hub for bus routes across mainland Orkney and for ferries to Aberdeen, Shetland and the North Isles. Magnus.
The current Kirkwall Grammar School was opened at the end of 2013 – part of a multi-million pound schools investment programme in Orkney which saw delivery of the new school and combined arts centre, a halls of residence, a swimming pool and squash courts, all in Kirkwall, as well as a primary school in Stromness.
The school was designed to create a distinctive focal point, not just for pupils but also for the local community as a whole.
The new KGS comprises one large building consisting of three teaching wings connected by an interlinking curved ‘street’ - which also accommodates social and dining spaces - with the oval shaped Arts Theatre located at the head.
Kirkwall Grammar School is a six-year comprehensive with a population of just under 850 pupils and 80 full-time equivalent teaching staff, serving Kirkwall, the East Mainland of Orkney and all the North and South isles excluding the island of Graemsay.
The school community reflects the increasing diversity of local society, economy and industry. Agriculture and fishing have been traditional industries for many years, and these have been supplemented in recent years by a growth in tourism, renewables, design and IT enterprises.