Pupils protest after popular teacher told to leave

Castlebrae pupils protest against the axeing of popular sports leader Alan Reid - nicknamed Aldo. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Castlebrae pupils protest against the axeing of popular sports leader Alan Reid - nicknamed Aldo. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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FURIOUS pupils and their parents have launched a campaign to save a popular sports teacher after education chiefs decided to remove him from a once closure-threatened high school.

Youngsters at Castlebrae Community High staged a demo outside the school gates after learning that sports leader Alan Reid had been told he would have to leave the embattled Craigmillar secondary.

Mr Reid – known as “Aldo” by pupils – has been based full-time at Castlebrae as its active schools coordinator and runs a range of sports, outdoor education and other activity sessions for children and local residents.

In a letter to parents, Councillor Cathy Fullerton – chair of the Castlebrae Working Group – said moving Mr Reid was based on an objective review of the school’s budget for community activities and whether it is being used “effectively”.

But pupils said the sudden news of his departure had left them upset and bewildered.

They are also worried the shock move could jeopardise progress at the embattled secondary, with next session’s S1 roll currently sitting at 46 – up from only 10 last August.

Nicole Moffat, 15, an S4 pupil at Castlebrae who took part in last week’s protest, said: “We’re just really disappointed after everything that happened with the threat of closure – we thought everything was getting back to normal.

“This would be a ridiculous loss to the school – there would be no fitness classes, no ­football, no basketball. And they are such good things about the school.”

It is understood Mr Reid is set to take up a new post this week at Drummond Community High, while city leaders have insisted Castlebrae will continue to receive the “appropriate allocation” of active schools co-ordinator time.

But parent leaders say recent progress in turning the school around has been put at risk.

Honor Flynn, Castlebrae parent council chair, said: “Our reaction to this was disbelief – Castlebrae is on the up now and there are so many positive things happening.

“We want to keep the momentum going and we feel Alan can really help with the growth of the school.”

Union bosses have also weighed in, voicing concern over the management of ­community activities and staff at Castlebrae.

A spokesman for Unite’s Edinburgh branch said: “We can confirm that we are deeply concerned about the way a number of changes have been made to the Communities ­Section of Castlebrae Community High School.

“We have written to the Director of Children and Families outlining in general terms our concerns and requesting an urgent meeting. We call on the council to indefinitely suspend any proposed changes to allow for proper dialogue with the unions and for full and proper consultation with community and users groups.”

However, education leaders said Castlebrae would remain a “hub” of community activity as part of their £800,000 drive to transform the once failing school. Cllr Fullerton said: “A fantastic amount of hard work has gone into revitalising ­Castlebrae Community High School over the past year.

“The school’s new headteacher, his management team, the staff and the pupils have all worked really hard to improve the school and they are succeeding.”