Former ‘superhead’ cleared by inquiry over child protection and is free to return to the classroom
Former Castlebrae ‘superhead’ Derek Curran who was accused of failures over child protection is free to return to teaching, an inquiry has ruled.
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A panel cleared Mr Curran over alleged failures to take appropriate action on reports of historic child abuse, after a former pupil claimed she had a sexual relationship with him at 15 and later had his child after turning 18.
During the inquiry, Mr Curran’s lawyers said a letter from a lab purporting to be DNA evidence tha he fathered a child with the former pupil was a forgery.
The General Teaching Council for Scotland hearing also cleared Mr Curran over the alleged failure to provide progress claims of sexual harassment by the same young woman, who reported explicit emails from another teacher at the school after she returned as an adult learner.
It was also found not proven by the tribunal that he had failed to provide adequate support to the young mother, who was 24 at the time of the alleged harassment.
She was later paid a sum of around £26,000 in compensation by Edinburgh City Council, the Evening News revealed.
Closing stage one of the inquiry on Friday, the presenting officer took the position that all allegations should be considered as proven – and he found there was ‘no excuse’ for the delay in reporting the child abuse claims to his seniors, including his line manager who was later sacked for her handling of reports about Mr Curran.
But after reviewing the evidence a panel of his peers ruled that his fitness to teach is ‘not currently impaired’.
It comes three years after an employment judge in a tribunal for unfair dismissal against the council ruled the city council failed to follow a fair procedure - but also found Mr Curran's failure to report the historic child abuse claim amounted to “a gross failure of his responsibilities, and thus gross misconduct"
Following a conviction it was found proven that Mr Curran did behave in a threatening or abusive manner in an incident at the Sick Kids hospital in January 2014, which was likely to “cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm.”
It was also found proven that he failed to follow procurement procedures when purchasing an airline ticket.
Mr Curran’s lawyers argued that the incident at the Sick Kids was 'forgivable’ and both were ‘minor and ‘unrelated’ incidents which shouldn’t be ‘added together’.
Sources close to the alleged victim branded the decision a ‘miscarriage of justice’.
Tory councillor Ian Whyte said: “Parents will be utterly shocked that this hearing has reached this decision, totally the opposite of a Judge-led tribunal which found that Derek Curran’s failures over child protection amounted to gross misconduct.
"I know parents who will feel he shouldn’t be allowed to take a role as a head teacher in schools. I see the need for people on a panel to have teaching experience but there should be a stronger element of independence. It doesn’t seem robust enough in terms of the wider public interest. This case to me shows the need to reassess and looking at reforming that whole teaching panel system, where someone can be reviewed by a panel of their peers.”
Mr Curran was dismissed by Edinburgh City Council in 2015. The council was contacted for comment.