WHATEVER the rights and wrongs of the current complaints being raised by teachers at St Thomas of Aquins, there are clearly issues which need to be addressed at the school.
This has traditionally been seen as the best Catholic school in Edinburgh and its pupils’ exam results have been among the best of any state school across the city. There is no way it has become a bad school overnight, far from it.
But sometimes when exam results are good other issues get glossed over because no-one sees the sense in rocking the boat. That seems to be what has happened.
Exam results are holding up on the whole – despite concerns about the performance of one particular year group – but relations between at least some teachers and the school management have broken down almost completely.
This is exactly the kind of situation where the school needs strong direction from the city’s education department to ensure things can be brought back to an even keel. Yet this is happening at a time of turmoil there, with the city’s £140,000-a-year director of education Gillian Tee quitting amid two ongoing investigations into failures within her department.
These are worrying times for parents who only want to know that their children are being well-taught in a stable and supportive environment that will help them thrive. The teachers’ complaints of course must be properly investigated and their concerns addressed, hopefully in a way that can bring the school back together.
But perhaps the first thing which the school needs right now is some stability. After five headteachers in seven years, the school has had almost as many bosses as Chelsea, and that does not make for good management. A period of consistency, whether that is under the leadership of current head Thomas Hughes or someone else, is called for desperately. This is another serious test for the city council’s new leadership.