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I am happy to comment on this as it is a very important development.

If correct, this demonstrates that the Witherslack withdrawal had been decided long before Howard Tennant undertook any ‘safeguarding review’ and at a time when WG visitors remained extremely positive about the school. They were raising no concerns and simply reviewing the paper-based systems we were using with a view to converting our procedures into their own management information system.

Even on the day that I was suspended they were speaking positively about the takeover, so it is clear that their workers ‘on the ground’ did not accept what was later to emerge from his report. The decision to withdraw from the deal had been taken by the directors, and was clearly in response to the actions of the Care Inspectorate over the false criticisms by a staff member about working practices (NOT child protection). I do recall the shock of the WG staff when they found out about my suspension.

I want to make it absolutely clear to both staff members and parents that I was first told about their decision to abort the takeover on the day of my suspension and not before then. I did however write to Sir Andrew Cubie after that and say that without WG the school would have no chance of survival because the Care Inspectorate and PKC were clearly trying to close us down.

Witherslack were fully aware of the difficulties the school had faced over the previous few months and had regarded the P&K complaint in January 2018 as, “arse-covering” after the suicide in the previous February. They were very confident about taking on P&K and said, “We can do nasty as well”.

However, they must have sensed that taking on the authority was one thing, but to fight against a hostile Care Inspectorate was too much even for their organisation.

I am indebted to the investigation team for clarifying what happened and hope that this now leads to the independent investigation that is so urgently required.

If that investigation demonstrates the type and level of corruption that we all suspect, I hope that it also clears the way for legal action against those involved and financial compensation for psychological and reputational damage, and loss of earnings for staff.

As ever, you have my full support.

Without the actions of the support group, the school community would have withered away but in some respects we are now stronger than we were at the point of closure and united in our efforts to get the facts on the table.


Bill Colley