A child abuse probe is focusing on former pupils of Gordonstoun in Moray if they had experiences that may help the investigation.
The call was made yesterday as it was confirmed that the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry would hold hearings on seven boarding schools from summer next year.
One of the establishments under investigation is Gordonstoun, an independent school at Duffus which boasts several members of the royal family as alumni, including Prince Charles and his father Prince Philip.
The other boarding schools under the spotlight are Fettes College and Merchiston Castle School, both in Edinburgh, Keil School in Dumbarton, Loretto School in Musselburgh, Morrison’s Academy in Crieff, and Queen Victoria School in Dunblane.
Inquiry chairwoman Lady Smith said: “In 2020, we plan to progress to case study hearings in relation to our investigations into abuse in boarding schools.
“We are interested in hearing from anyone about their experiences in boarding schools, particularly people who may have more recent experiences of having attended one of the schools currently under wider investigation from the 1980s up to December 2014.
“I would encourage anyone who has evidence to offer in relation to any of the investigations listed on our website to get in touch. We want to hear from you.
“I know that some people have already made a report to the police or to other agencies or persons and may have been involved in other investigations.
“That does not matter – please also talk to us.”
In 2015, a police probe was launched after a number of ex-pupils of Aberlour House, the prep school for Gordonstoun, claimed they were preyed upon by teachers in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Bosses at Gordonstoun, which only took over the running of Aberlour House in 2004, contacted more than 3,000 former pupils to ask them to report any abuse they may have suffered there.
Last night, a spokeswoman for Gordonstoun said: “We are fully committed to helping the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry in any way we can as part of this important Scotland-wide project to understand how children were looked after in the past and to learn lessons for the future.
“We hope the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry will make children safer in the future.
“For everyone at Gordonstoun today, making sure our students are happy, healthy and safe is at the heart of everything we do and we are committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment for all our students.”
John Edward, director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, said: “The inquiry team has confirmed what was announced in 2015, that boarding schools would be looked at as part of the overall examination of school care accommodation.
“The schools have already worked with the inquiry team since the first announcement and have provided them with a substantial amount of detail.
“That full co-operation will continue through the hearings in 2020 and beyond.
“The safety and welfare of children at school is of paramount importance, and schools have zero tolerance towards staff who fail to live up to these values.
“The independent sector is no different from any other part of the school system in continuing to champion the highest standards of child welfare.”
The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is examining historical allegations of the abuse of children in care and began taking statements from witnesses in the spring of 2016.
It has already heard harrowing reports of abuse from witnesses, including former pupils of Fort Augustus Abbey and Nazareth House in Aberdeen.
The current hearings, which are the fourth phase, focus on childcare establishments run by male religious orders.
These are expected to conclude by late this year and will be followed by an examination of the abuse of children who left Scotland through the child migration programme.
A further phase investigating foster care has also been announced for late 2020.
The inquiry’s witness support team can be contacted on 0800 0929 300, email@example.com, or via SCAI, PO Box 24085, Edinburgh EH7 9EA.