What really forced the closure of this unique school?
On Friday 23rd November, 2018, The New School, Butterstone was closed down by the Board of Governors after an ultimatum issued by the Care Inspectorate, and following a long campaign of intimidation by Perth & Kinross Council.
For 25 years the school had met the needs of pupils who were unable to access mainstream education, and provided a safe learning environment for children and young people disadvantaged by autism, extreme anxiety and a range of learning difficulties and disabilities. The school roll was growing rapidly, 8 further places had been offered, and there were more than 50 pupils seeking a placement.
In closing the school, 24 pupils lost their place of learning and 51 members of staff lost their jobs and their livelihoods. Three months after closure was announced, only 1 pupil has found suitable alternative placements in schools whilst 3 have been forced to move to college. A small fraction of the workforce has found alternative employment.
On 21st of December, the school went into administration and staff were informed that their contracts of employment has ceased, that they could no longer access the school buildings, and that all communication & information systems were now the property of the administrators.
This website has been established to ensure that the truth emerges from the chaos, confusion, ‘fake news’ and squalid political manoeuvring, that has surrounded recent events.
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Why did the Board close the school when it was becoming so successful?
During the course of 2018, school numbers increased rapidly to a final figure of 24 and the school was, after an enforced period of dormant recruitment, thriving. Closure made no financial sense and robbed so many children and staff of their futures. What pressures caused this to happen?
What was the role of The Witherslack Group?
The Witherslack Group (WG) had provided a confident assessment of the school’s future to parents in September. Why did they suddenly pull-out of a takeover agreement and turn against the school? What caused them to sacrifice the school when they had been so positive just weeks before?
What role did the care inspectorate play?
Why did the Care Inspectorate (CI) insist that the school be closed down when it had already become clear that there were no child protection issues? Who took this decision and what is the relationship between CI and Perth & Kinross Council (PKC)? See Courier article.
Why was the school closed in such a brutal fashion?
For children with autism and anxiety disorders, change must be carefully managed. Why were education officers from PKC, and representatives of CI and Education Scotland so poor at managing the school for its final 5 days? What justification can be given for the severe distress and trauma that their actions caused? Read the staff account.
Why did perth & kinross council want the school to close?
It is clear that PKC cannot meet the needs of pupils displaced by the closure of the school, nor many others who are currently being failed within their own education system. Why force the closure of a successful school and cause so much suffering to so many children and young people?
What has happened to the pupils since the school closed?
Of the 24 pupils placed at the school, how many will be able to continue their educations? What damage has been caused by the loss of their school, their friendships with peers, and the positive contact that they had with trusted members of staff?
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