Teacher arrested over obscene e-mail claim

Castlebrae High School. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Castlebrae High School. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A TEACHER suspended amid a probe into alleged sexual misconduct with a female student has been arrested for allegedly sending obscene e-mails to the same student.

Gavin Atkinson, 57, a biology teacher at Castlebrae High School, will appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court later this month facing charges brought under the Communications Act.

The News told yesterday how Mr Atkinson had been removed from his post pending a council probe into claims he engaged in sexual activity with a female student over the age of 18 at the Craigmillar school.

He is due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on June 19.

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “Police in Edinburgh can confirm that a 57-year-old man has been arrested and charged in connection with incidents which have previously been reported at Castlebrae High School.”

It follows a police investigation into Castlebrae headteacher Derek Curran, who was also suspended over alleged sexual impropriety with a female pupil.

No charges have yet been brought.

Dubbed a “super head”, Derek Curran had been parachuted into Castlebrae last May to reverse the ailing fortunes of a school that was on the brink of closure amid poor exam results and plunging rolls.

He had previously been a headteacher at Forrester High.

It follows the transfer of an unnamed Castlebrae deputy headteacher to another school amid claims education chiefs are seeking “to clear the decks”.

Education chiefs insist the deputy head had requested the end of their secondment to Castlebrae High School was “brought forward”.

Despite the gravity of the allegations, Castlebrae community leaders insist it will be “business as usual” to ensure recent successes – such as improved enrolment applications – will not be squandered.

Parents have told of their concern for the future of the school.

But Kev Finlay, a working group member tasked with turning the school around, intends to focus on the positives.

“The intention has always been to get a full-time head in there and steady the ship,” he said. “The department has done the proper thing in removing these teachers and I am sure that this will come to its right and proper conclusion.

“There’s been a lot of hard work in the last few months in gaining the trust of the community and getting parents to pledge that their kids will go to the school for their education.

”We have to focus on the positives coming out of there.”

Grace Vickers, a former headteacher at St Thomas of Aquin’s High, has now been drafted in as acting principal until the term ends.

Mr Finlay said: “For Ms Vickers, it’s business as usual – our sleeves are rolled up and we are continuing the hard work that’s going on.

“The department has moved swiftly to remove the individuals while the authorities look into the matter.

“I hope it’s dealt with swiftly.”

It is understood a series of meetings have taken place at Castlebrae to keep parents informed of the developments.