STAFF and pupils have bid a fond farewell to depute headteacher Robert Burns after a quarter of a century at Musselburgh Grammar School.

They also welcomed his successor Mike Scott, formerly acting depute headteacher at Dunbar Grammar School, who is no stranger to Musselburgh Grammar as he started his teaching career in its PE department.

Mr Burns, 60, who is originally from Beith, North Ayrshire, studied politics and history at the University of Edinburgh before training to be a teacher at Jordanhill College in Glasgow in 1983.

After some years working in schools in West Lothian, he moved to Musselburgh Grammar in 1993 as a history teacher under the headship of Terry Christie.

He then became principal teacher of modern studies in 2003 before becoming depute headteacher three years later.

During his time at Musselburgh Grammar, Mr Burns initiated and ran the annual school trips to France and the First World War battlefields.

Speaking at a lunch to mark his retirement last week, headteacher Colin Gerrie said: “What I and the school will miss is the ‘Burns stare’, the wicked humour, the well-read intelligence, the visibility around the school, the words of caution, the educational thinker, the man with no ego, modesty personified, the great guy to all people, the proud father and grandfather, and most of all the man with compassion for those of our students hard to reach and most at risk.

“He is always so positive about life and shares my passion for social justice and state education. He is highly respected by the whole school community.”

Mr Burns’ wife retired earlier in the year from her job as an English teacher. The couple, who live in West Lothian, are planning a two-month trip to Portugal. Mr Burns is also planning on learning Norwegian so that he can converse with his grandson, who was born in Norway.

His successor Mr Scott, 32, started his career in 2008 as a physical education (PE) teacher at Musselburgh Grammar.

He said: “Immediately I was impressed with the clear set of values and a strong commitment to social justice that were demonstrated throughout the school community.

“I was fortunate to be kept on in a temporary capacity for the academic session 2009-2010, before securing a full time permanent job in Musselburgh Grammar’s PE department starting in August 2010.”

He left in August 2014 to take up the post of principal teacher of health and wellbeing at Dunbar Grammar, where he became acting depute headteacher.

Mr Scott said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time and was warmly welcomed into the Dunbar community.

“I was heavily supported by my colleagues and have enjoyed strengthening partnerships with local groups to provide a variety of opportunities to the young people in the area.”

When a full-time post arose at Musselburgh Grammar, he was excited at the opportunity to apply some of his skills and knowledge back to the school which supported and shaped him during his early teaching career.

Mr Scott said: “I’m looking forward to the exciting challenges that lie ahead and feel particularly passionate about continuing to strengthen the health and wellbeing agenda, as well looking creatively at the curricular options available to our young people.

“I’m passionate about making sure that we work closely with employers and the local community to offer a variety of relevant curricular opportunities that best suit the needs of all our learners.

“I’m also looking forward to working alongside such a dedicated and conscientious staff body, and I hope that I am able to live up to and demonstrate just some of the values that Robert has displayed over his 25 years within the school.”