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So who is to blame?

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Following Karen Reid’s extraordinary statement on Wednesday that PKC only had concerns about ‘educational support’ at TNS, analysts on the investigation team have been trying to make sense of a) why she has distanced herself from Sheena Devlin’s claims that there were, “serious child protection issues” at the school, an on-going police investigation, and that staff were not safe to work with former pupils, and b) who PKC will now try to blame for the whole fiasco given that their actions will come under intense scrutiny.

Here is what has been concluded so far;

The Care Inspectorate

Issued an Improvement Notice just hours after an investigation had demonstrated that there had been no wrong-doing at the school and that the pupils felt happy and safe.

Insisted that the Head of School be suspended (without any justification), just one day before the notice was issued, to ensure that he could not challenge it.

Told the Board of Governors that if they (BoG) did not close the school within a week, they would.

Ignored the rights and needs of 24 vulnerable pupils, and national guidance on transition.

Failed to protect pupils from harm during the final week when they, PKC and Education Scotland were making key decisions about pupil welfare.

Insisted that 2 members of staff cleared of wrongdoing remain suspended after they had been proved innocent of any wrongdoing, and thus caused suffering to pupils who needed them.

Accused the Head of Care of failing to follow child protection guidelines when this was untrue (and demonstrated so by the SSSC)

Provided inspection ratings that could not be justified following an unannounced inspection in May.

Failed to respond to requests for guidance, for key information regarding concerns, and to the submission in March of new child protection guidelines.

Provided false information to the media about child protection concerns at the school.

Lied to parents by saying that they had tried to persuade the Board of Governors to keep the school open.

Witherslack Group

Denied that they had management responsibility for the school between August and November when it was written into the management agreement signed in August, and when they had clearly been performing management functions during that time.

Produced a fake safeguarding report which has been discredited by everyone connected with the school and external regulators.

Released the fake safeguarding report without providing school managers with an opportunity to correct falsehoods and errors.

Failed at any point between August and November to raise any concerns about safeguarding.

Education Scotland

Told school staff that there were 2 pupils classified as ‘suicide risks’ when this was untrue.

Refused to discuss the PKC complaint submitted in January 2018 or question the false assertions made by PKC officers.

Criticised the school for not updating its child protection policy between May 2017 and May 2018 despite the fact that the link inspector had visited on a number of occasions and never raised concerns, and despite the priority given to staff and pupils following the February 2017 tragedy. And that there had never been any breach of the child protection guidelines.

Failed to protect pupils from harm during the final week of school when they were present and aware of decision making by PKC (and others).

The Board of Governors

Took at face value everything they were told by the Care Inspectorate without questioning their judgement or motives.

Took at face value everything they were told by Witherslack without questioning their judgement or motives.

Took at face value everything they were told by PKC without questioning their judgement or motives.

Failed to support school managers.

Suspended the Headof School when there was no justifiable reason for doing so.

Closed the school in 5 days despite the harm that this did to pupils.

Incurred additional costs of over £100,000 by closing the school abruptly and thus robbed staff of a significant amount of their notice pay.

Told parents that there had been a child protection investigation but did not inform them that the school had been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Defamed school managers by implying they had, “tried to sweep child protection concerns under the carpet” when there had been no CP concerns or any attempt at concealment.

Defamed school managers by stating that they had, “failed to report a CP matter to the Board”, when a) there was no CP matter to report, and b) the staffing issue had been reported to Witherslack who were responsible at the time.

Stated to staff that the school had, “shot itself in the foot again”, when there had been no failings.

Attempted to blame school managers for their own failings.

Informed parents that the school was being closed for financial reasons when it was clear that this made no financial sense (see above).

Failed to issue any statement in support of staff at the school who had never done anything wrong.

Registrar of Independent Schools

Wrote to the Board of Governors stating that there had been 2 sets of ‘failings’ at the school when there had been none.

Refused to identify any ‘failings’ at the school.

‘Failings’ at the school

PKC failings - to be listed at a later date

Bill Colley