Headteacher suspended over pupil sex claim

Council education chiefs say Derek Curran has been suspended as a 'precautionary measure'. Picture: Julie Bull
Council education chiefs say Derek Curran has been suspended as a 'precautionary measure'. Picture: Julie Bull
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A HEADTEACHER has been suspended from duty following an allegation of sexual impropriety with a female pupil.

Derek Curran has been removed from his post as head of Castlebrae Community High pending the outcome of an investigation by education bosses.

The probe is expected to focus on his six years as a headteacher at Forrester High School.

It follows a complaint made by a female pupil who is understood not to have attended Forrester or Castlebrae High.

Mr Curran is understood to be strenuously denying any wrongdoing.

Staff were told about the decision on Monday by the council’s head of schools, Andy Gray.

Grace Vickers, previously head at St Thomas of Aquin’s High, will take the reins at Castlebrae until the end of term.

The development – described as “very rare” by a union source – has sparked shock among parents at Castlebrae.

Susan Heron, vice-chairwoman of Castlebrae High parent council, said she feared the suspension would reflect badly on the school.

She said: “My hope is that whatever is going on is cleared up quickly and that we can just move on from whatever is going on, and that it won’t affect any of the intake of the term that’s about to start in August.”

Mr Curran was parachuted into Castlebrae last May to reverse the fortunes of an ailing school that faced closure amid poor exam results and falling rolls.

But the one year secondment provoked anger among parents at Forrester, who regarded him as an effective leader.

At the time of the move, Forrester parent council members said while the transfer may have a “positive impact” on Castlebrae, it ignored the effect on the Broomhouse Road school.

However, it is also understood Mr Curran’s management style at Castlebrae has upset some parents, although he has been credited with leading a revival in the school’s fortunes.

A council spokesman said: “The headteacher has been suspended as a precautionary measure to ensure we can investigate concerns raised carefully and thoroughly.

“This is standard practice during an investigation and an acting headteacher has been appointed until the end of term.”

Police Scotland said they were aware of the allegations but had not yet launched an investigation.

A spokeswoman said: “Police are aware of the suspension of the head-teacher at Castlebrae High School and we will liaise with the City of Edinburgh Council if any criminal report is made.”