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Murkier than Watergate

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The calls for an independent investigation into the closure of the school are growing louder by the day.

What we know for sure is that;

1. The Board of Governors was forced into making that decision by the Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland

2. ‘Child protection’ and ‘safeguarding’ were used as excuses to force closure despite the fact that there was no evidence of any harm or threat of harm, to children and young people. More harm has been done to pupils by closing the school than ever occurred during its 26 year existence.

3. The forced closure had been predicted by school managers months in advance of the events which led to the final decision on 19th November 2018

4. With the exception of school staff, all involved (the regulators, Perth & Kinross Council, Scottish Government) have been dishonest and have acted unprofessionally throughout the debacle

The investigation into the closure is necessary because;

1. It raises serious and legitimate questions about the political independence of the regulators

2. It raises serious and legitimate questions about the professional competence and integrity of the regulators

3. There are serious concerns about ‘cronyism’ within the education and care establishments which may have facilitated the closure and which compromise the whole regulatory system across Scotland

4. The tragic death of a young person in February 2017, 3 days after the authority refused to fund his placement, appears to have been one of the key drivers for Perth & Kinross Council to press for closure

5. The cruelty towards children and young people displayed by the regulators and Perth & Kinross Council during the final week of school raises serious concerns about their competence and their professional conduct

6. The Education Minister and local MSP, John Swinney, appears to have been directly involved in the campaign to close down the school

7. The First Minister and Deputy First Minister appear to have misled Parliament with respect to comments made about post-closure provision for the pupils affected

8. The failure of local authorities and in particular, Perth & Kinross Council, to meet the needs of pupils displaced by the closure raises concerns about ASN provision in Scotland

Without a full investigation, public confidence in the regulators cannot be restored. At present, only school staff and parents appear to be genuinely keen for an inquiry to go ahead.

If, as the Care Inspectorate, Perth & Kinross Council, Education Scotland, and the Scottish Government claimed in November 2018, pupils were “at risk” at the school, then the investigation will reveal what these concerns were.

At present, no-one appears capable of producing a single piece of evidence to support this view.

Bill Colley