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Castlebrae head suspended after allegation by pupil

Head of Castlebrae High School Derek Curran has been suspended as a 'precautionary measure'. Picture: TSPL

Head of Castlebrae High School Derek Curran has been suspended as a 'precautionary measure'. Picture: TSPL

  • by CHRIS MARSHALL
 

A “SUPER HEAD” brought in to improve one of Scotland’s most under-performing schools has been removed from his post and details of his suspension passed to the police, The Scotsman has learned.

Derek Curran was given the job of turning around Castlebrae Community High in Edinburgh last year after the city council pulled back from controversial plans to close it.

Mr Curran has been suspended from his position following an allegation from a pupil who is not thought to be a student at Castlebrae.

Staff at the school are understood to have been told about the decision on Monday by Andy Gray, Edinburgh City Council’s head of schools.

The local authority said the decision to suspend Mr Curran had been taken as a “precautionary measure”.

Police said they had been “made aware” of the situation, but are not currently investigating.

Last year, Castlebrae was allowed to stay open – despite being less than a third full – after parents mounted a campaign to save it.

Council officials had recommended the Craigmillar school – which had some of the worst exam results, truancy and exclusion rates in Scotland – should close, with pupils moved to other secondaries.

But councillors went against the recommendation and decided to keep it open following the long-running campaign by parents.

A report from inspectors, which was published just a few months later, said there remained “considerable headroom” for improvement, with the performance of children actually “weaker” in exams than in previous years.

Mr Curran had been the school’s headteacher since last June, when he was appointed to oversee the secondary and its feeder primary schools.

Speaking to The Scotsman last year, he said changes were under way to address some of the concerns highlighted by the inspectors, including replacing around a quarter of the school’s staff.

“When I was a maths teacher here in 1983, it was a thriving comprehensive school, where the bulk of the local community went. The introduction of the parents’ charter [which gave parents more choice over which school to send their child to] totally destroyed that,” he said.

Every pupil was given an iPad as part of a £770,000 package approved by the city council last year to revive the school’s fortunes and adverts were used on Edinburgh buses to promote the school.

Commenting on Mr Curran’s suspension, 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.”

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland added: “Police are aware of the suspension of the headteacher at Castlebrae High School. We will liaise with the City of Edinburgh Council if any criminal report is made.”

 

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