Prestigious Edinburgh school cancels ball after pupil pranks

Students at a top private school whose leavers' ball was cancelled after last day pranks spiralled into drunken debauchery have organised an independent event in an act of defiance.

Students at George Watson's College in Edinburgh are preparing to organise their own leavers' ball at the Roxburghe Hotel in Edinburgh, after teachers refused to chaperone the event after the pupils behaviour on their final day. Picture: Rob McDougall

£10,000-a-year George Watson’s College in Edinburgh has educated some of the best known names in Scotland - including Sir Chris Hoy and former cabinet minister Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

But when term finished two weeks ago the students let loose on a raucous rampage of last-day pranks across the length and breadth of the school’s 50 acre campus.

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On April 28 around 30 students began drinking at 7:30am - before daubing walls with expletive graffiti, hanging condoms from trees and blocking toilets.

One member of staff was also injured after being pelted by eggs, and a fight had to be broken up between some of the male students.

As a result the end-of-school ball slated to take place at the upmarket Roxburghe Hotel in Edinburgh was cancelled.

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But now students are set to organise their own ball at the same location, defying the ban by teachers, who refused to chaperone the event after the pupils’ behaviour.

One parent - who asked not to be named - said that the students are now asking parents to “chaperone” them at the event in place of the teachers.

And - he said it looks set to go ahead at the same location as the old ball - letting them dodge the cancellation bill, which was expected to run as high as £10,000.

Discussing the students in charge of organising the ball, he said: “They’re asking parents to chaperone now instead of teachers.

“It’s still going to go ahead at the same place.”

The original ball was banned in an email to parents from Heather Wilson - the head of the senior school.

In it she wrote: “Today has not been a great day for the school”, before detailing the nature of the pranks.

She went on: “The details of what happened make unpleasant reading. More regrettable actions have come to light.

“Much of the disrespect can be explained by the consumption of alcohol on campus and in homes as early as 7:30am.

“Our S6 pupils let themselves and the school down. My staff are still reeling - I cannot require them to give up an evening to support the ball.”

Now the students are set to go ahead with their own unsanctioned version of the ball - without the help of their teachers.

George Watson’s dates back to the 1700s, and nearly half of all the higher exams sat by pupils last year were graded with As.