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Focus turning to Witherslack

Recently released FOI documentation has revealed the true extent of the influence of Witherslack in the closing of the school.

A highly damaging report written by Howard Tennant of WG was presented at the Board meeting on Friday 16th November during the absence of Head of School, Bill Colley, and was shared with the Care Inspectorate, Education Scotland and Perth & Kinross Council. Mr Tennant recommended that the school be closed immediately despite that fact that his judgement was in stark contrast with previous inspection findings which showed the school to be a safe and caring place.

Bill Colley and Angie Gordon were not permitted to respond to the report, to highlight the factual errors and misunderstandings, nor to correct the distorted judgements made. Harsh criticisms of the school were made without any supporting evidence, and the findings were described by school managers as simply untrue. Bill has stated, “The report is very badly written, poorly referenced, and amateurish in every respect. It cannot be taken seriously, but sadly the Board did just that without applying any intelligence when coming to the decision to close the school. They were simply conned and bullied into a very foolish decision which has caused immense damage to so many young people and their families.”

Bill was only allowed to see the report after the school had closed. “It is clear that I was suspended to get me out of the way so that I could not guide the Board at a very critical time. Had I been there, the school would still be open. It is as simple as that.”

The report was marked “strictly confidential” and was to be shared only with the Board and the inspectorates, but the Board released it to Perth & Kinross Council. No explanation for this has been forthcoming.

School staff are now exploring legal options and intend to sue Witherslack for defamation, but are also examining the actions of the Board and considering whether negligence can be demonstrated.

The WG report, including the response of the school, can be found here.

Bill Colley