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East Ayrshire

Aest Ayrshire
Siorrachd Àir an Ear
East Ayrshire in Scotland.svg
Coat of arms of East Ayrshire
Coat of arms
Official logo of East Ayrshire
Council logo
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country Scotland
Lieutenancy area Ayrshire and Arran
Admin HQ London Road, Kilmarnock
 • Body East Ayrshire Council
 • Total 487 sq mi (1,262 km2)
Area rank Ranked 14th
 • Total 121,840
 • Rank Ranked 16th
 • Density 250.05/sq mi (96.55/km2)
ONS code S12000008
ISO 3166 code GB-EAY
Website East Ayrshire Council

East Ayrshire (Scots: Aest Ayrshire; Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Àir an Ear) is one of thirty-two council areas of Scotland. It shares borders with Dumfries and Galloway, East Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire. The headquarters of the council are located on London Road, Kilmarnock. With South Ayrshire and the mainland areas of North Ayrshire, it formed the former county of Ayrshire.

The wider geographical region of East Ayrshire has a population of 122,100 at the last 2011 census, making it the 16th most populous local authority in Scotland. Spanning a geographical area of 1,262 km2 (487 sq mi), East Ayrshire is the 14th-largest local authority in Scotland in terms of geographical area. The majority of the population of East Ayrshire live within and surrounding the main town, Kilmarnock, having a population of over 46,000 people at the 2011 census. Other large population areas in East Ayrshire include Cumnock, the second-largest town in terms of population and area, and smaller towns and villages such as Stewarton, Darvel and Hurlford.

The largest school in Scotland, the Robert Burns Academy is located in East Ayrshire's second largest town, Cumnock.


Kilmarnock is the largest town, followed by Cumnock; other small main towns are New Cumnock and Stewarton. The area was formed in 1996, from the former Kilmarnock and Loudoun and Cumnock and Doon Valley districts. Kilmarnock is the county's capital and also largest town. The former Kilmarnock and Loudoun District Council was also twinned with Sukhum, Abkhazia. Following a review of links this link is now considered as a friendship link.

Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Cill Mhearnaig agus Lughdan in Scottish Gaelic) was one of nineteen local government districts in the Strathclyde region of Scotland from 1975 to 1996. The district was formed by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 from part of the county of Ayrshire, namely:

Apart from the former burghs the district included the towns of Hurlford and Kilmaurs.

The district was abolished in 1996 by the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, which replaced the regions and districts with unitary council areas. The district's area was combined with that of Cumnock and Doon Valley to form the East Ayrshire council area. The name Kilmarnock and Loudoun continues to be used for a constituency of the House of Commons and, covering a similar area, a Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency of the Scottish Parliament.


There are many early settlements within East Ayrshire. The Burns Monument Centre and Dick Institute also hold local newspapers from 1834 to date (some have been indexed), together with a selection of maps. The Burns Monument Centre holds local photographs and postcards. Microfiche/film readers are available within the Burns Monument Centre and the Dick Institute.


Train Station Panorama
Kilmarnock is the largest settlement in East Ayrshire with a population of over 46,000 and is home to the HQ for East Ayrshire Council
Old Cumnock Old Church and mercat cross
Cumnock is East Ayrshire's second largest settlement in terms of area size and population

Towns and villages

Places of interest

Dumfries House from the west
Dumfries House located in Cumnock has developed itself as a major local tourist attraction

Economy and Skills

Robert Burns Academy
The Robert Burns Academy in Cumnock is the largest educational provision campus in Scotland


East Ayrshire currently has nine secondary schools, forty-three primary schools, four schools which cater for children with additional support needs, thirty-three early education childhood centres and three children's houses. Kilmarnock Academy, situated on Sutherland Drive in the New Farm Loch area of Kilmarnock, is one of only two schools in the world to have educated two Nobel laureates: Alexander Fleming and John Boyd Orr. However, both men attended Kilmarnock Academy at an earlier site when it was located on North Hamilton Street.

In September 2017, current Head of Education within East Ayrshire, Alan Ward, announced his retirement from the post of Head of Education after two years. Ward will retire from his post in early 2018. In December 2017, it was announced that after a nationwide recruitment campaign to appoint a replacement for Alan Ward, Linda-McAulay Griffiths, Head Teacher at Loudoun Academy had been appointed as the new Head of Education for East Ayrshire. She assumed the post of Head of Education in early 2018.

From late 2015 into early 2016, the terminology Educational and Social Services was phased out within the council and replaced with Economy and Skills.


Below is a list of current Early Childhood Centres, primary schools, secondary schools and special educational establishments currently open and operating within East Ayrshire and run by East Ayrshire Council.

Early Childhood Centres

Primary schools

Secondary Schools

Further Education

Ayrshire College, Kilmarnock, 2018
The new Ayrshire College campus opened in Kilmarnock in October 2016

Kilmarnock is home to a campus of Ayrshire College, which provides a range of courses to adults as well as school-aged pupils. It is funded by East Ayrshire council and other educational providers. The campus opened in October 2016 in a new, £53 million, building on the site of the Johnnie Walker bottling plant. It superseded the Kilmarnock College building on Holehouse Road.

East Ayrshire is not far from the Ayr campus building of the University of the West of Scotland, and Ayrshire College works with the University to provide opportunities for students.

Update of school estates

William McIllvanney campus, November 2018
New build Kilmarnock Academy, opened in 2018

Since the take over of the council in 2007 by the Scottish National Party, East Ayrshire Council has invested heavily in the modernisation programmes of schools throughout East Ayrshire as part of the Scotland's Schools for the Future programme. The first school in East Ayrshire to benefit as part of this programme was most notably Grange Academy which, in 2008, was re-housed in a new state of the art school which was constructed adjacent to the existing school building which was constructed in the 1960s. This programme of extensive modernisation paved the way for the advancement in plans to modernise nearby St Joseph's Academy in Kilmarnock, which, like Grange Academy, was constructed during the 1960s and in need of restoration repairs. When opened, St. Joseph's Academy also included St. Andrew's Primary School on the same campus, similar in style to the way in which both Grange Academy and Annanhill Primary School share a building within the same campus.

In 2013, East Ayrshire Council put forward proposals that would see the merger of both Kilmarnock Academy and James Hamilton Academy. After a period of public consultation, it was decided to merge both schools along with the merger of both New Farm Primary School and Early Childhood Centre and Silverwood Primary School to create a new single primary school and Early Childhood Centre on the same site as the secondary school. The new super school will be located adjacent to the site that currently houses the existing James Hamilton Academy building, meaning Kilmarnock Academy will move from its current location where it has been since the 1800s. The programme of merging the secondary and primary schools in scheduled to take place in March 2018 for pupils moving into the new building in April 2018. Both schools will be situated on the William McIlvanney Campus, named after Kilmarnock-born author William McIlvanney, who died in 2015.

Whilst many of the school estates in East Ayrshire have been rebuilt, East Ayrshire Council has also invested heavily in the restoration processes of older schools, such as Hurlford Primary School and Loanhead Primary School. Hurlford Primary had fallen into such a state of disrepair that parts of the ceiling began to fall into classrooms, leading the council to move all pupils to nearby Loudoun Academy to allow work to progress quicker. Many parents of children attending the school raised concerns over East Ayrshire Council's commitment to the school building and the safety of its pupils, leading to much public backlash from parents towards the councils. A £2.3 million refurbishment programme has also been announced for Loanhead Primary School, which dates back to 1905 with the foundation stone being laid by Andrew Carnegie. These works will see the creation of a new Early Childhood Centre to improve the access to quality early years education in the town centre, as well as refurbishment and safety measures made to the structure of the building and the roof.

Johnnie Walker Bond, Kilmarnock
Johnnie Walker Bond in Kilmarnock is home to East Ayrshire's central Social Work department

Social Services

In recent years, East Ayrshire has worked towards greater integration of the educational and social work departments to ensure smoother transparency between teachers, early years practitioners, Head Teachers of primary and secondary schools and Head of Centre's of Early Childhood Centres. Throughout East Ayrshire, there are four centralised social work departments, with the main HQ being located within the former Johnnie Walker Bond building in the Strand, Kilmarnock. Other social work departments include a base in Dalmellington, Cumnock and Galston. These services include social work services for children, families and older citizens.

Social work services within East Ayrshire also include the locality service which aims to work with children and young people to assess, plan, develop and deliver a range of supports to children, young people and their families. This is done in partnership with other agencies in order to enhance their social skills, improve relationships and promote positive lifestyles. The Vibrant Communities services, established in 2003, was a unique service at the time of its development, aiming to empower communities to live healthier and happier lives. Vibrant Communities services include youth work, early intervention, services for older people, sports, active schools development, community-led action planning programmes as well as the transfer of community assets. The Vibrant Communities approach is being widely recognised as informing the Community Empowerment agenda across Scotland and the wider United Kingdom.

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