ANGRY Peebles High pupils have hit out after an all-female head team was appointed.

As we reported last week, the school has decided to do away with the traditional gender-balanced roles.

Anna McGorum Begara and Darcy Hamilton have been announced as head prefects, while Annabel Blackwood and Emily Wright were named deputes.

But the controversial decision has been blasted by a number of youngsters.

And an online petition questioning the school’s selection process has since gained more than 80 signatures.

S5 pupil Dan Tarrant told us: “Last week’s story failed to develop the true conflict between staff and students that actually arose from this hierarchic change.

“An S6 student even went to the extent of creating a petition on the website, as a statement of the pupils’ fury.

“[Headteacher] Mr Fagan stated last week that gender consideration no longer prepares students for the reality of the world beyond school.

“However, when viewing the key points presented in the 2010 Equality Act; it is stated that: ‘Employers and employees in the public sector, and in private or voluntary organisations carrying out work on behalf of a public sector employer, have a legal public sector equality duty in the workplace to prevent and eliminate discrimination, establish and promote equality and equal opportunities’.

“What this clearly shows is that gender should still be made a prime consideration when recruiting staff within eduction institutions and other business organisations.”

And the 16-year-old is now worried that there is a lack of male role models for pupils at the school.

Dan added: “A balanced gender leadership is crucial, especially within a secondary school as many male students will seek a male role model.

“Many pupils continue their discontent with the changes, especially following an assembly a fortnight ago, where, one of the depute rectors of the school tried to address the issue – stating that ‘it is just as likely it could be an all male head team next year’.

“This went on to spark even more fury around the school as it is widely believed that if this were to happen, this would be seen as anti-equality.”

As we reported last week, the change drew support from Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam and local MSP Christine Grahame.

And headteacher Paul Fagan also defended the decision.

He said: “As a proud recipient of the LGBT Silver award, Peebles High has demonstrated its commitment to the promotion of equality and diversity. We consider all pupils to be equal and award opportunities based upon a person’s character and skills rather than on their gender.

“In every sixth year we offer a variety of leadership opportunities from prefects to senior students council and head team, and appoint students to these positions of leadership based upon the experience and qualities that they have displayed through a series of selection processes.

“I am delighted that this year we are led by our head prefects Darcy Hamilton and Anna McGorum Begara, who are assisted in their roles by the depute head prefects, Annabel Blackwood and Emily Wright. This very talented group has responsibility for leading their peers – both male and female – who make up the 13 members of the senior student council and prefect team of 40.”