Head sacked over slow response to teacher claims

Castlebrae Community High. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Castlebrae Community High. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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A HEADTEACHER has been sacked after an investigation into his conduct at a secondary school in the Capital.

It is understood Derek Curran, former principal at Castlebrae Community High, has been dismissed following a decision to suspend him last year.

One of the reasons for the termination of his employment is believed to be an insufficiently swift response to complaints made by a female learner about improper conduct by one of her teachers at the school.

It has also emerged that Norma Prentice, who was installed as Castlebrae’s acting leader last year, has been appointed permanent headteacher.

Dubbed a “super-head”, Mr Curran was drafted into Castlebrae in June 2013 as part of efforts to revive the school after it was saved from closure amid poor exam results and falling rolls.

Parent representatives have voiced relief at news that his employment with the council has ended and they welcomed confirmation of Ms Prentice’s appointment.

Susan Heron, vice-chair at Castlebrae Community High parent council, said: “What has happened is the right outcome, because of the position he had.

“We’re all trained in child protection and he should have followed that. We’re absolutely delighted that Norma Prentice has been appointed permanent headteacher.

“She was the best person for the job as far as I’m concerned. The school has changed greatly since she was made acting head. I think it will be brilliant now she has the permanent job.”

The development comes after the Evening News revealed in June how senior education manager Karen Prophet was sacked after a probe into whether she acted robustly and quickly enough over reports that Mr Curran, 54, had behaved in a sexually improper manner towards pupils at schools where he was employed.

We also told how the council was investigating allegations that a vulnerable Castlebrae student’s complaint about improper behaviour by one of her teachers was effectively ignored for four months.

Councillor Mike Bridgman, SNP member for Portobello-Craigmillar, said: “I have been made aware that the headteacher has been dismissed – however, I am not aware of the reasons for his dismissal.

“I’m looking forward to the whole episode being concluded. The school community is also looking forward to the new headteacher being permanently assigned to take the school forward as she has in the past. I welcome her appointment.”

A council spokeswoman said: “I can confirm that Mr Curran is no longer employed by the council.”

Mr Curran did not respond to a request for comment.