Ex-Edinburgh headteacher charged with child sex offences

Neal McGowan
Neal McGowan

A FORMER headteacher of an Edinburgh high school has been charged with a string of child sex offences.

A total of five charges have been laid against former Gracemount High headteacher Neal McGowan, 53, who led the school from 1997 until 2002.

If any members of the public have any information please contact 101

Essex Police

Originally from Edinburgh, Mr McGowan was made head of the school aged just 34 and is believed to have been one of the youngest heads in the UK at the time.

After leaving Gracemount, Mr McGowan moved to Banchory Academy in Kincardineshire from 2002/04 and then Larbert High School in Falkirk from 2004-09.

He is also thought to have ties to Musselburgh Grammar and worked at three English schools – Cherwell School in Oxfordshire, St John Bosco College in Wandsworth and another school in Essex – as well as Beijing international school Dulwich College.

Police have confirmed that Mr McGowan, who lives in Leith and lectures on education at various universities and colleges across Scotland, had been charged with five offences since his initial arrest in March last year.

He is accused of causing or inciting sexual activity with a boy aged 13 to 17 and causing a child aged 13 to 17 to watch a sexual act.

He has also been charged with three counts of making indecent images of a child and is due to make an appearance before Chelmsford Magistrates Court on May 24.

The former headteacher studied technological education at Moray House Institute of Education in Edinburgh and was awarded the Henry G Paterson Medal in 1985.

He also has a Masters in Education from Edinburgh University and the Degree of Doctor of Education from the University of Stirling.

Police confirmed the charges relate to incidents which allegedly took place while Mr McGowan was head at his most recent school, in Essex.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “A teacher has been charged with offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

“Neal McGowan, 53, of Dickonsfield, has been charged with two counts of abuse of position of trust – one for causing or inciting sexual activity with a boy aged 13 to 17 and one for causing a child aged 13 to 17 to watch a sexual act.

“He was also charged with three counts of making indecent images of a child.

“He is due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on May 24.

“Mr McGowan was arrested by Essex Police in March 2016.

“If any members of the public have any information relating to the above, please contact DC Jeanine Atkins-Calver on 101.”

The city council and Police Scotland declined to comment on the charges.