The History of St Columba’s

The original St Columba’s High School was opened in 1922 in Cowdenbeath as a combined Catholic senior secondary for all Fife pupils and a junior secondary for pupils from the immediate Cowdenbeath area. In 1959, the new St Andrew’s High School in Kirkcaldy took on the role of the Catholic senior secondary and St Columba’s became a junior high school with a catchment area covering Dunfermline and West Fife.

The present school buildings were constructed in 1969, at which point the old junior high school in Cowdenbeath was closed.  In 1973 St Columba’s then developed into a six year Catholic co-educational comprehensive school in line with Education Authority policy.

St Columba’s has developed traditions of which present and former pupils and staff are justly proud.


The Campus and Buildings

The buildings of the school are situated within a campus covering three hectares. The playing fields contain:

  • football pitches
  • hockey pitches
  • a running track
  • athletics facilities
  • cricket facilities
  • 3 tennis courts and
  • all weather pitch facilities.

The school buildings are attractive and well maintained. The entrance foyer and corridors are kept in very good order, and there is excellent co-operation with the cleaning contractors.

There is good provision of classrooms, tutorial rooms and specialist accommodation.

There are:

  • 9 science laboratories
  • 6 technical rooms
  • 4 art rooms containing two electric kilns and specialist equipment for ceramics
  • 3 home economics rooms
  • 3 music rooms which can be used for teaching as well as instrumental practice areas

We also have a fully equipped Library, a Pupil Support Suite, a games hall, a gymnasium and a learners’ swimming pool.

All departments in the school have PCs or laptops and several rooms are fully equipped for IT purposes.

Pupils and adults who have mild mobility difficulties can access all areas of the school.  Wheelchair access is limited to the ground floor of the Main Building and the Technical Block.  However, plans are in place for a new lift which will allow access to all floors of the school.  It is hoped this will be in place during session 2008-2009.

The quality of the learning environment is frequently commented on by visitors to the school, and it reflects well on the pupils, the staff and the Education Authority.

The school has always endeavoured to achieve the highest standards and to encourage all of our pupils to fulfil their individual potential to the best of their ability.  Close links have been developed with local colleges, businesses and industries.  The school staff seek to work in partnership with parents and the Church for the good of all of our pupils.

While we aim to respond to the needs of our pupils on an individual basis, the education of all of our pupils must be paramount; no individual pupil can be allowed to disrupt this. We are grateful that the overwhelming majority of our parents are supportive of our efforts in this respect. We expect our pupils to develop a business-like attitude to their studies, and to have a tidy appearance.  All pupils come to school wearing the school tie with its Latin motto “Tenui Nec Dimittam”, which means, “I will hold and not let go”.

Holidays and Closures

Dates Reason Details
18 Nov 2016 In-Service Day In-Service Training Day
26 Dec 2016 to 06 Jan 2017 School Holiday Christmas Holiday
15 Feb 2017 In-Service Day In-Service Training Day
16 Feb 2017 to 17 Feb 2017 School Holiday Additional Holiday

If you would like to view the complete list of School Holidays, please click here.