Jun 13 2012 by Craig Robertson, Dumfries Standard Wednesday
SENIOR council officials are investigating complaints against the headteacher at Dumfries High School.
Chris Barbour is the focus of inquiries being made into allegations of bullying and issues relating to the school’s finances.
Nearly 20 members of staff at the school have been interviewed in the last two weeks in connection with the investigation which began before Easter.
It is being headed up by Harry Thomson, the council’s head of transport and commissioning, but includes other officials.
The inquiry was instigated following a joint complaint by the trade unions, UNISON and the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS).
The allegations are set out in a number of documents.
One of them outlines claims that Mr Barbour is negative and undermines staff.
Another sets out an allegation that Mr Barbour allowed his sister to carry out an audit of the school accounts and that there were questions over how money had been spent.
In one document relating to the case, the council’s deputy director of education, Rachel Craig, states that it is an “investigation into matters relating to the council’s code of practice on dignity at work and related issues of general misconduct at Dumfries High School”.
She said interviews were taking place as part of an “on-going internal management process in order to gain a comprehensive overview of practice taking place within Dumfries High School”.
She said it was part of the council’s “disciplinary procedure”.
Mr Barbour is still working at the school while the investigation goes on but it was part of the reason for his absence for a period of time before the Easter holidays.
A number of the allegations in the council investigation have been made by teachers who have worked with Mr Barbour.
A source close to the inquiry said: “There are allegations that Mr Barbour has failed to comply with the council’s own policies relating to employees.
“Staff have complained about direct verbal bullying and that confidence is being undermined by negative criticism.
“The investigation will carry on for several weeks and then a report on the matter will be drawn up during the summer.”
Their report will be presented to Rachel Craig, the deputy education director.
Mr Barbour did not respond to a request to comment.
Colin Grant, director of education services, said: “We cannot comment on this matter.”