Ex-student threatens legal action over bullying claims at top school

© SuppliedGlenalmond College
Glenalmond College

A top private school is facing legal action from an ex-student who claims staff failed to protect him from bullies.

The former pupil alleges he was left with mental health issues after prolonged abuse at Glenalmond College.

A complaint lodged by his parents was partly upheld by the Care Inspectorate last year.

In its findings, the watchdog stated: “They (the complainant) stated that there was a culture of bullying at the service and that staff and management were complicit in this by not addressing it adequately or by following their own bullying policy.”

Now the former student, who has not been named, has gone online to raise funds for his own legal challenge against the Perth boarding school.

He has launched an appeal on the CrowdJustice website to raise £5,000 for legal fees. He has already made more than £1,000.

In an extensive blog, he claims staff refused to investigate when his iPod and bicycle suddenly disappeared.

And when someone else’s iPod went missing, he was “bullied and blamed constantly” for several weeks. Staff searched his room for the device, which was later found at its owner’s home.

“No one seemed to care when it was my iPod and my bike that had gone missing without a trace,” he said. “No one else had their belongings or rooms searched.”

The student left in 2015, after he was — he alleges — “bullied into handing over to two pupils some of my work and files for an exam entry and a portfolio for application to further education”.

“One of the bullies included a teacher,” he claimed.

The student said he chose to go to CrowdJustice after speaking with a lawyer about action against Glenalmond’s insurers.

“They seem to want to play a long game, but I need closure — that my bullies answer for their actions towards me and that the school answers for its negligence and ignoring of Care Inspectorate recommendations which directly affected me and allowed my bullying to continue,” he said.

Glenalmond College has insisted that it has taken action to get on top of bullying issues.

Warden Elaine Logan said: “We are aware of a crowdfunding appeal by a former pupil who has chosen to remain anonymous and therefore we will not comment on this individual case.”

She added: “In the most recent report by the Care Inspectorate, published following an inspection which took place at the end of last year, Glenalmond was praised for the quality of care and support provided, receiving a grading of five (very good).

“The quality of staffing, and of management and leadership, were also graded as very good in the report.

“Schools across the country continue to learn and improve on how to tackle bullying among young people.”

She said: “Each case will be different and because of this there will never be a definitive solution. We have strict policies and procedures in place designed to protect the wellbeing of children in our care. This is a priority for us. We take each case very seriously and we respond positively and swiftly to changes in best practice in this area.”