The High School of Glasgow.
Kenneth Robertson Head of Senior School at The High School of Glasgow.

Photograph by Martin Shields 
Tel 07572 457000
© Martin Shields

High School of Glasgow opens new science wing

The top floor of The John Shaw Science Wing has officially opened at The High School of Glasgow Senior School in Anniesland.

This was made possible following a £1.5million donation from former pupil John Shaw, the largest single donation the school has ever been gifted.

After leaving the High School in 1966, John Shaw studied at the University of Glasgow before joining Coats, a Paisley-based textile firm, in management and financial roles across the world. In 1998, he married his wife Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and joined her business, the Bangalore-based, biotech giant Biocon. This billion-dollar biopharmaceutical company’s mission is to change patients’ lives in over 120 countries by finding new and affordable ways to treat diabetes, cancer and autoimmune diseases.

John and Kiran’s philanthropic efforts are well-documented, including a $7.5million donation given to the University of Glasgow in 2019. It was recently announced the University’s Advanced Research Centre will be named after the couple.

Thanks to the donation from John and Kiran, the High School has converted the top floor of the Science Wing to create a new base for its Geography and Modern Studies department. Four bright and modern classrooms enjoy views across the Old Anniesland playing fields and out to the Campsie Fells in the distance.

What is particularly special about the top floor is the creation of a making and doing area. This description is reflective of the desire for this to be a space that pupils make their own. Whether they want to come together to design Formula 1 racing cars; discuss hypotheses for experiments they are carrying out in Biology or Chemistry; or immerse themselves in learning through virtual reality, the top floor provides pupils with a flexible space in which to do so outside the confines of a normal classroom.

Kenneth Robertson, Head of Senior School at The High School of Glasgow

Kenneth Robertson, Head of Senior School at The High School of Glasgow, said: ‘The top floor of The John Shaw Science Wing allows us to have a place within the Senior School that moves away from the traditional education system in favour of a more entrepreneurial area. By giving pupils a space to discuss, design and dream together, they get out of their comfort zones and learn to adopt a growth mindset. This is a critical skill to hone, helping to bridge the gap to Higher Education and the working world.

‘In addition, it also provides a new location to host members of the School community, be that parents, prospective parents or former pupils.

‘John and Kiran’s donation is truly remarkable and we are so grateful to them for their tremendous generosity which has so richly enhanced the educational experience and opportunities for our pupils of both today and tomorrow. The naming of the building reflects the huge contribution made to the High School from one of our former pupils, the largest single donation we have ever received’

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, said: ‘My husband John Shaw and I are delighted to see our gift being put to such excellent use by his school for the augmentation of scientific knowledge of young minds’

The top floor of The John Shaw Science Wing is still being finalised, with eye catching wall art being installed across the Easter holidays and furniture for the flexible making and doing space to follow.

John O’Neill, Rector of The High School of Glasgow

John O’Neill, Rector of The High School of Glasgow, added: ‘This incredible donation from John Shaw has provided a strong foundation on which to build as we look ahead to the 900th anniversary of The High School of Glasgow in 2024, a magnificent milestone for our entire School community.

‘We have ambitious plans to mark this anniversary and leave a lasting legacy for generations of High School pupils to come so watch this space.’

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