Rannoch School

Rannoch School

Infobox Secondary school
name = Rannoch School

motto = "In pursuit of all round excellence"
established = 1959
closed= 2002
type = Private co-educational boarding secondary
grades = p7 - s6 (Years 1 - Upper 6, ages 10 - 18)
city = Near Kinloch Rannoch and Pitlochry
country = Scotland, UK
campus = Rural; c. 90 acres
students = c. 300 at max
website = []

Rannoch School was an independent boarding school, located on the south shore of Loch Rannoch in Perth and Kinross, Scotland on the Dall Estate, 6 miles from Kinloch Rannoch. Dall House served as the main school building and a boarding house.

It was established by three masters from Gordonstoun School and opened on September 24th 1959 with 82 boys. The founding masters were A.J.S. Greig (Headmaster and Housemaster of Dall House known as "Dougal"), P. Whitworth (Housemaster of Potteries House aka "Paddy") and J. Fleming (aka "Gemflem"). The school's ethos was enshrined in its principle of "in pursuit of all round excellence" based on the philosophies of Kurt Hahn,

Rannoch's location in the Highland Perthshire glens lent itself well to Outward Bound pursuits and naturally, these became a large part of the school's activities.


At its peak, Rannoch School had over 300 boarders (girls and boys) from ages 10 - 18. There were four boys boarding houses; Dall (located in Dall House itself), Potteries, Wade and Wentworth; one girls house Robertson; and a junior boarding house, Cameron. In 1997, to accommodate a greater increase of girls, Wentworth merged with Dall to become Duncan House, and Wentworth itself became a new girls House, Struan.

Rannoch also had a modern sport centre, design centre, swimming pool, chapel and gym donated by the Prior family.

Dall House

Dall House was the main school building. It housed one of the boys’ boarding houses, the dining hall, kitchens, library and a number of offices and classrooms.

The estate itself dates back to 1347 and Dall House was built later and existed as a principal seat of the Clan Robertson until early last century. The building is a romantically styled "Scots Baronial" mansion house designed by architect Thomas Mackenzie. Prior to being purchased by the school, it was used as offices by the Forestry Commission.


The school was one of a few in Scotland, that taught SCE Higher grade subjects over two years, rather than one allowing a greater focus on extracurricular activities. A small number of pupils on occasion took A-Levels instead. Subjects taught included English, Mathematics, Sciences, Music, Geography, Art, French, German, Modern Studies and Economics. Other schools that carry out this practice include Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh.


In addition to the regular sporting activities, Rannoch was very active with The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, taking full advantage of the school's beautiful surroundings.

Rannoch also had its own volunteer emergency services. The school fire brigade, supported by Tayside Fire Brigade, was manned by pupils and staff to provide emergency cover for the local area. The remoteness of Loch Rannoch meant fires were rare, but on occasion, 999 emergency calls resulted in the fire engine and crew being dispatched.

Three power boats furnished the Loch Patrol service and the mountain rescue service trained with Tayside Police to assist with missing hill walkers. Other services included ambulance, conservation, expedition, meteorological and library.

Sports also played a large part at Rannoch, with pupils participating in games four days per-week including, rugby, football, hockey, golf (Scotland's only 8-hole golf course), rounders, Cross-country skiing and athletics.

Academically, all main subjects were taught, mostly aiming towards SCE Standard Grade and Higher Grade exams, but also on occasion to A-Level. A large number of pupils participated in music, either learning an instrument or singing in one of the choirs.

Evening clubs and societies were also popular and a range of activities from electronics and filmmaking, to chamber choir and bible study. During the early years, the pupils converted an old barn on the site into a chapel and this remained a central focal point for daily worship.

Closure in 2002

In 2002, Rannoch School closed permanently, having been threatened with closure the previous year but lasting another 12 months through financial donations and publicity. Although the demand for independent schooling on Scotland is on the increase, recent years have shown a decline in the number of parents willing to send their children to boarding school. The remoteness of Rannoch and lack of public transport meant that opportunities for day pupils were very limited, being 6 miles from the nearest village and an hour’s drive from the nearest city (Perth). Being more accessible from major road networks, the proximity of rival Perthshire boarding schools such as Strathallan School and Glenalmond College provided an alternative option for parents.

Following closure details of the school's history and archive pictures can be found on www.exrannoch.com

Distinguished Rannochonians

Rannoch produced a number of athletes including former Scotland and British and Irish Lions captain Tom Smith and the Bermudan 2006 Skeleton Olympian, Patrick Singleton.

Rannoch School today

Following closure, the buildings and grounds of Rannoch School were bought by a private developer. A number of the staff houses on the Dall Estate are now available for holiday lets and the beauty of the location makes it an ideal Highland destination.

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