Top QC to look into council's role in teacher assault case

One of Scotland's most experienced legal figures is to head an independent investigation into a council's handling of a teacher who was convicted of assaulting five vulnerable children in her care.

By Court reporter
Thursday, 17th June 2021, 3:51 pm
Andrew Webster QC
Andrew Webster QC

Linda McCall, 60, was cleared by Scottish Borders Council education officials of any wrongdoing and transferred to another complex needs school despite concerns raised by fellow staff and parents.

But the parents persisted with their complaints about her conduct and she was found guilty at a trial at Selkirk Sheriff Court of assaulting five pupils aged between five and seven years old between August 2016 and October 2017 while employed by the local authority, as well as one count of threatening or abusive behaviour.

Andrew Webster QC, 67, has now been appointed to lead an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the case.

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He is vastly experienced in commercial, public and regulatory work, civil liberties and human rights challenges, property and planning law.

Mr Webster has also been described as the UK Government's "go to" counsel in Scotland.

Addressing a meeting of Scottish Borders Council chief executive Netta Meadows said Mr Webster had been involved in senior legal roles for 30 years and added: “He has significant experience.”

She also announced that Education Scotland will carry out a widespread review of the council's complex needs education provision.

Council leader Shona Haslam said:"It is important that this investigation is carried out as there is a feeling of hurt and dismay about what has happened."

McCall, of Earlston, Berwickshire, is due to be sentenced for the assaults next month at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.