Second teacher suspended over sex claims

The latest claims follow the suspension of headteacher Derek Curran, inset, over historic allegations of sexual impropriety with a pupil. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The latest claims follow the suspension of headteacher Derek Curran, inset, over historic allegations of sexual impropriety with a pupil. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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THE crisis engulfing Castlebrae High School has taken a new twist after it emerged a second teacher has been suspended amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Biology teacher Gavin Atkinson has been removed from his post pending the result of a probe into claims he engaged in sexually activity with a female student over the age of 18 at the Craigmillar school.

The news comes only days after we revealed how headteacher Derek Curran – appointed to turn around the fortunes of the struggling secondary – was suspended over historic allegations of sexual impropriety with a female pupil.

It is understood Mr Atkinson was suspended for an alleged breach of professional standards and not any criminal wrongdoing.

In another development, one of the deputy heads at 
Castlebrae High is set to be transferred to another school amid claims the council is seeking “to clear the decks” while a police investigation continues into allegations surrounding its principal.

Derek Curran was parachuted into Castlebrae last May to reverse the fortunes of a school that was on the brink of closure amid poor exam results and plunging rolls.

News that a second teacher has been suspended for alleged sexual misconduct has shocked parents who now fear for the future of the school.

Susan Heron, vice-chairwoman of Castlebrae High parent council, said it was vital the local authority got to the bottom of the claims quickly.

“The council has to get this wrapped up as soon as possible,” she said.

“I have concerns over the existing pupils and parents’ reaction, and also the August first years.”

Community leaders in Craigmillar have now called for root-and-branch reform of the school’s management culture.

Paul Nolan, a long-standing community councillor, said: “I believe that there have been the most serious problems in the management of Castlebrae – there should be a top-level, independent person or group to come in and see what exactly is going on in that school.”

Education chiefs said both suspensions were in response to ongoing police 
investigations.

A council spokeswoman said: “The headteacher has been suspended as a precautionary measure. A police investigation is currently under way and the council is working closely with Police Scotland to support them in these 
investigations.

“We can confirm that another member of staff is under precautionary suspension to allow a police investigation to take place, therefore it would not be appropriate to provide a further comment at this stage.”

She added: “One of the deputy headteachers has requested that the end of their secondment to the school is brought forward, which has been agreed.”