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A senior member of staff at Taynuilt’s acclaimed Ballet West dance school has resigned amid allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour towards students.
Jonathan Barton, former vice-principal of Ballet West Scotland, is facing allegations he abused his position at the boarding school run by his family.
The allegations came to light following an ITV News investigation.
Ballet West’s board of trustees said the accusations have come as a shock and it has now launched its own external independent inquiry into the claims. The allegations have been made by former students.
The board issued a statement on Wednesday August 12 which said: ‘The safety and wellbeing of students is of paramount importance and these allegations came as a shock to the school. We have no complaint from any student about such behaviour and, to our knowledge, no complaint has been made to the Police or other authority.’
Given the nature of the accusations, the board initiated an immediate internal inquiry to establish the facts.
The board added: ‘A senior member of staff was identified as being the focus of the accusations. He has emphatically denied any wrongdoing and will co-operate fully with any investigation. In the meantime, he has offered his resignation so that an investigation can be undertaken freely, and students and their families can have confidence in the process. The member of staff involved has said that he will vigorously contest any allegations and his decision to resign has been made to ensure the school is not brought into disrepute. The board has accepted his resignation and have informed all relevant authorities of the accusations.
‘We have also started the process of undertaking a full independent inquiry which will be led by a senior legal figure with no connection to the school.
‘The school regards any issue involving students and staff with the utmost seriousness. We value the wellbeing of students above all else and support them. We have a well-established complaints policy and procedure which is provided to students. We have a resident physiotherapist and an independent counsellor who reports to the board. Students also have direct access to a representative to the board if they have any cause for concern. The school has been in existence for nearly 30 years and takes pride in the quality of teaching of numerous highly qualified ballet teachers.
‘The board has written to all students and their families today to advise them of the situation.’
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: ‘We can confirm that officers have been made aware of concerns regarding inappropriate behaviour. However, there has been no criminality established to date.’