Teacher ‘had inappropriate relationships with pupils’

Merchiston Castle School. Picture: Colin Hattersley
Merchiston Castle School. Picture: Colin Hattersley
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A TOP city boarding school which has already seen two men charged over historical abuse allegations is now facing a second police probe – into the behaviour of a female former teacher.

It has been claimed that the unnamed woman had inappropriate relationships with pupils at the all-boys Merchiston Castle School.

Police Scotland confirmed that the force was aware of the claims and was “making inquiries”, though it is understood that no formal complaint has yet been made.

Merchiston Castle, which is already co-operating with another investigation into claims of historical abuse, contacted Police Scotland over alleged behaviour that is understood to have happened more recently.

The latest allegations to rock the elite fee-paying school relate to a female former teacher allegedly having inappropriate relationships with pupils while she taught at the school.

Two men aged 62 and 69 – understood to be former members of staff – were charged as a result of the earlier investigation.

In 2013, long-time teacher James Rainy Brown committed suicide after being told 
police were investigating claims of his “inappropriate conduct” towards pupils at the private school.

The 75-year-old, who had worked at Merchiston Castle for more than half a century, was found at his Colinton home shortly after he learned of the probe.

It is understood that the claims against him involved lewd and inappropriate comments rather than physical abuse.

Earlier this year, the Care Inspectorate “identified concerns about the quality of child protection practice” and called on the school to do more to safeguard pupils.

A follow-up report found the quality of care and support at the school to be “weak” but awarded it good marks in other categories.

The school, for seven to 18-year-olds, charges up to £29,000 a year in boarding fees, making it one of the most expensive schools in the country.

It is considered to be one of the best in the in the UK for sport as well as boasting a “first-class” academic reputation.

A spokesman for Merchiston School said: “The school has been made aware of allegations concerning a former member of staff. We have passed this information to the police and we understand they are currently making inquiries.

“We have also notified the Care Inspectorate, Education Scotland, the Registrar of Independent Schools and the General Teaching Council for Scotland.”

A Care Inspectorate spokesman added: “We identified concerns about the quality of child protection practice at our last inspection but have been working closely with the school and have seen significant improvement since then. We were properly notified by the school of an allegation made recently.”