Edinburgh Academy faces inquiry over decades of abuse allegations

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry will hear from dozens of former pupils who claim they were sexually and physically abused at Edinburgh Academy, one of Scotland’s most prestigious private schools.

Survivors speak out

The inquiry, which has been investigating residential care provisions at boarding schools for several years, will focus on Edinburgh Academy from August 8. Eighteen former teachers and staff members at the school have been accused of molesting pupils between 1960 and 2000. There will be 30 witnesses attending in person with a further 20 witness statements at the hearings.

Some of the survivors have formed a group called Edinburgh Academy Survivors, which has 39 former pupils, including BBC broadcaster Nicky Campbell. A spokesman for the group, Giles Moffatt, said: “Let there be no doubt that the Edinburgh Academy was once a cesspit of sadism and paedophilia.”

Moffatt added that past headmasters and governors of the school have been “oblivious, indifferent, and downright callous” about what happened on their watch. He also thanked Police Scotland and the Crown Office for their action and said that arrests and extraditions are on the horizon.

A history of abuse

The allegations against Edinburgh Academy span four decades and involve various forms of abuse, ranging from inappropriate touching to rape. Some of the alleged perpetrators are still alive and living abroad, while others have died or cannot be traced.

One of the most prominent figures accused of abuse is Iain Wares, a former maths teacher and rugby coach who also taught at Fettes College. He now lives in South Africa and was previously classed as a “protected person” under an order preventing his identification. He is alleged to have abused children in the 1960s and 1970s at the two private schools.

Edinburgh Academy faces inquiry over decades of abuse allegations

Nicky Campbell, who attended Edinburgh Academy from 1966 to 1977, has spoken out about the abuse he suffered at the hands of Wares. He said: “He was a very charismatic teacher, very popular, very funny, very clever. He was also a sadistic paedophile and a very manipulative person.”

Campbell said that Wares would invite boys to his flat, where he would show them pornographic magazines and films, and then abuse them. He said that he was one of many victims and that the abuse had a lasting impact on his mental health.

A better place today?

The current management of Edinburgh Academy has expressed its sympathy and support for the survivors and said that the school is a considerably better place today than years gone by. The school said that it has cooperated fully with the inquiry and the police and that it has implemented robust safeguarding policies and procedures.

The school also said that it has offered counselling and mediation services to the survivors and that it has apologised to them for the harm they suffered. The school said: “We are deeply sorry for the hurt and distress caused to former pupils who suffered abuse while at our school. We recognise the courage it has taken for them to come forward and share their experiences.”

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, which is chaired by Lady Smith, aims to examine the nature and extent of abuse of children in care in Scotland and to make recommendations to improve the protection of children in the future. The inquiry has already heard evidence from other leading Scottish schools, such as Fettes College and Loretto.

By Ishan Crawford

Prior to the position, Ishan was senior vice president, strategy & development for Cumbernauld-media Company since April 2013. He joined the Company in 2004 and has served in several corporate developments, business development and strategic planning roles for three chief executives. During that time, he helped transform the Company from a traditional U.S. media conglomerate into a global digital subscription service, unified by the journalism and brand of Cumbernauld-media.

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