Lieutenant Andrew Waid (1736 – 1803), an Anstruther man, left his money for the founding of Waid’s Orphan Naval Academy for the sons of poor mariners and fishermen. For a variety of reasons it was not possible for his wishes to be carried out in the years following his death. Indeed, for much of the 19th century his will was ignored and the value of his estate began to accumulate. In 1884, Commissioners appointed under the Educational Endowments Act (Scotland) 1882, proposed a scheme to use his money to build a secondary school to serve the East Neuk of Fife. In the same year, the Queen approved their scheme and on 6th September 1886 The Waid Academy opened for the first time. It was the first school in Scotland to be created under the 1882 Act and its constitution became a model for other schools which were created or changed as a result of the Act.
Despite its auspicious beginnings, the school did not receive its coat of arms approved by the Lord Lyon King of Arms until 1959. Stewart Lees, teacher of Art and Design at The Waid from 1953 to 1960, created the coat of arms which he took from the carving above the school’s main door – sculpted by J Rhind of Edinburgh. The ship is passing between towers or pier heads, symbolising “the opening into the wide sea of life which learners who pass through The Waid may be said to be entering”. The ship is also a link with Lieutenant Andrew Waid, the benefactor whose legacy led to the construction of the school. At the top, there are two books – the Bible and the Book of Knowledge. The shell not only denotes the school’s proximity to the sea, but also is emblematic of pilgrimage and thus symbolises our journey through life. The motto is from Francis Bacon and in full reads “Multi Pertransibunt Et Augebitur Scientia”, which means “Many will pass through and knowledge will be increased.” For reasons which are connected with Heraldic convention, the first half of the motto has had to be omitted from the coat of arms. The charter which grants the coat of arms from the Lord Lyon King of Arms to the school hangs in the Rector’s office.