Teacher ‘sent inappropriate messages to pupil’

Castlebrae High. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Castlebrae High. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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A TEACHER has been charged with sending inappropriate messages to a pupil and allegedly assaulting another at an Edinburgh high school.

Gavin Atkinson, 56, a biology teacher at Castlebrae Community High, faces two charges under the Communications Act for allegedly sending the messages.

It is understood both pupils named in the charges are under the age of 16 and were students at the same school as Mr Atkinson’s when the incidents occurred between August last year and the end of June.

The news comes weeks after Castlebrae headteacher Derek Curran was released on bail after appearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on multiple assault charges including domestic abuse.

Mr Curran was 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.

After his charges became public, Norma Prentice, headteacher at Drummond Community High, was appointed to lead Castlebrae through the 2014-15 session.

But evidence has emerged that families are shunning the trouble-hit Craigmillar secondary, with this session’s S1 roll of 27 down from a projected intake of 46 in March.

Parent leaders said the community was determined to ensure progress at the school and would not dwell on the charges being brought against two teachers.

Susan Heron, vice-chair of the school’s parent council, said she looked forward to working with Ms Prentice and added it was “onwards and upwards” for Castlebrae.

“Whatever may have happened is removed from the school,” she said. “It’s nothing to do with the school, we need to put it behind us.

“There’s a new head arriving today and it will hopefully be positive and good.

“We were all of the same understanding at the meeting that we had with Norma Prentice that what’s important is the education of our children.”

Castlebrae was slated for closure in March last year after the roll dropped to barely a quarter of its capacity of 600 pupils. But councillors voted to keep it open despite officials arguing that millions could be saved by annexing it on to Portobello High School.

A police spokeswoman said: “A 56-year-old man has been charged with two offences under the Communications Act and for assault, and a report has been sent to the procurator fiscal.”

A Crown Office spokesman added: “The procurator fiscal in Edinburgh has received a report concerning a 56-year-old male, in connection with alleged incidents said to have occurred between August 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014.”

He added: “The report remains under the consideration of the procurator fiscal.”