Impact of Witherslack report
It has become clear in recent weeks that the now discredited safeguarding report by Howard Tennant of Witherslack caused immense damage to the reputations of completely innocent members of staff.
Mr Tennant conducted his ‘safeguarding review’ during a period when the Head of School and 2 key members of staff were suspended from their duties. All were subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing but the Head of School was not permitted to see the report until the final decision had been taken to close the school.
Bill Colley stated that the Tennant report was, “defamatory, dishonest, replete with errors and misjudgements, and designed to do maximum damage to the school and to highly dedicated members of staff”. He questioned why it was that other Witherslack members of staff who had been in the school for several weeks had failed to identify or raise any concerns, had indicated that the school was a very safe and caring place, and that they regarded the staff team as highly professional.
The report is now subject to legal action by former members of staff whose reputations were wrongly damaged by Mr Tennants comments. Evidence that will be presented in court includes the following documents that became available under FOI:
The unprofessional nature of the WG report raises questions about Mr Tennant’s competence but also the actions of the group in suddenly withdrawing from a takeover arrangement. WG were managing the school between August and November 2018 and one theory is that they were warned by the Care Inspectorate that their new service would not be registered. School staff believe that PKC and the Inspectorate were working together to close the school down in order to save money and to distract public attention from the 2 suicides in December 2016 and February 2017. Questions are currently being asked about the quality of care provided by PKC to the 2 young men involved and the level of understanding that PKC staff about mental health when making crucial decisions.
In both cases, the school itself was blameless but was badly affected by PKC hostility in subsequent months.