Advisers sent in to monitor troubled primary school

Edinburgh City Council this week responded swiftly to allegations of sexual abuse and bullying at Hailesland primary by sending in advisers to review the school's management and policies. The team was sent in on Wednesday and will report its findings early next week to senior officials and councillors.

Action followed claims that a girl was sexually abused by a boy aged 11 in the school grounds and that other children were being bullied. Parents raised the alarm and some have withdrawn children.

Three weeks ago the school was the centre of attention after a girl walked out of the nursery class attached to the primary without being spotted.

John Dobie, head of education support services, said an "authority evaluation" would examine the school's management, policies on child guidance and bullying and the wider curriculum. A report will go before the subcommittee that monitors HMI inspections. Mr Dobie said the council's approach would involve "established practices, procedures and support mechanisms", backed up by training.

Douglas Duff, Hailesland's headteacher, was not available for comment. Mr Duff is acting chairman of Lothian branch of the Association of Head Teachers in Scotland.

Hailesland is the second Edinburgh primary in the past year to be the subject of a special evaluation. Teachers at the first were given extra support after the review identified a lack of communication in the senior management team.

"A very difficult situation was turned around," Mr Dobie said.

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