Teachers at top school accused of bullying colleagues and pupils

TEACHERS at a leading Edinburgh private school have been accused by fellow staff members of verbally abusing their colleagues and pupils.

Fourteen female members of staff at the Edinburgh Academy’s junior school signed a letter to the headmaster, Campbell Paterson, outlining a climate of low morale and distrust.

The leaked letter referred to “serious instances of verbal harassment both of colleagues and boys by certain members of the management team”, and suggested the situation was even dissuading parents from enrolling their children at the exclusive 1,588-a-term school.

The letter also referred to an “offensive and intimidating” tone taken towards female members of staff.

Mr Paterson said: “The document was a private document directed to me expressing some concerns from a group of teachers in the school. It was never meant to be made public.

“Both sides feel bruised that someone has decided, for their own reasons, to make this public and I think it is mischief making. Many of the issues have been discussed and [staff] are happy with the progress that has been made.”

Regarding the serious accusation of verbal harassment, Mr Paterson said: “What we are talking about is a difference of approach by some teachers when they are addressing the boys. In schools, you have some teachers who shout, some who growl and some who are nice to the boys.”

He said there had been no specific complaint about harassment by colleagues.

Mr Paterson rejected suggestions the all-boys junior school was struggling to attract pupils, saying that numbers had risen from 300 to 341 in recent years. The maximum capacity is 370.

The spokeswoman for the group, Barbara Robertson, a teacher who has been at the school for eight years, said: “I am an extremely happy member of staff. I’ve never achieved the level of satisfaction that I have here.”

She said she stood by the letter, but wished it hadn’t become public.