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Fettes College

From Academic Kids

Fettes College is a public school located in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was founded in 1870 as the result of a large bequest by Sir William Fettes, a wealthy Edinburgh merchant, in memoriam of his son, also called William Fettes, who died in 1815. The bequest was for the education of poor children and orphans, during the years after his death the money was very successfully invested [£166.000 approx]. This sum was then used to create the current school which still operates as a charity - it offers a very small percentage of pupils foundations [scholarships], these are highly competitive. In no way can the school be said to reflect the wishes of Sir William's will.

The school is described as the 'Eton of the North' and is sometimes thought of as being an offshoot of Rugby School in England. It has tended to follow the English public school system, rather than Scottish educational traditions. Pupils take GCSEs rather than Standard Grades, and more academic pupils are encouraged to take A-Levels rather than Scottish Highers.

The school was all male until 1970 when girls were first allowed in the final year. Since 1983 it has been fully co-educational. The school admits both daytime-only and boarding pupils. The school is exclusive in that prospective pupils must pass entrance exams in order to be considered for admission and that fees are charged (around GBP £13,500 per year for a daytime-only senior-school-age pupil). The school offers scholarships to exceptionally talented applicants. These scholarships may in turn be topped up with bursaries if the applicant's financial standing so warrants.

The college's main building by David Bryce (built 1863-9) blends the design of a Loire château with elements of the 19th century Scottish Baronial style. The combination, and the siting of the building in the midst of its own spacious grounds, makes Fettes an important landmark.

Famous alumni

James Bond and Fettes

Whilst expanding on James Bond's backstory, Ian Fleming wrote in You Only Live Twice that the spy had attended Fettes College having being expelled from Eton College, for sleeping with a school maid!

Sean Connery, who was the original actor to portray James Bond, worked as a milkman's delivery boy in his youth. One of the places on his route is said to have been Fettes College.

Just to confuse matters even more, an actual 'James Bond' did attend Fettes College. Although the character is alleged to have been inspired by several people, including Sir Fitzroy Maclean, this James Bond was a frogman with the SBS... which is interesting considering the fictional James Bond's naval background.

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