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Analysis of Education Scotland response to formal complaint underway

The investigations team is currently examining the Education Scotland response to a formal complaint submitted by former Head of School, Bill Colley.

In order to ensure that the analysis is comprehensive and secure, we will address each point in full, but on an individual basis. This will allow former staff and parents an opportunity to digest our findings in a measured way, rather than being over-loaded with information in one go.

The scope of the complaint follows below. More details about each specific complaint will follow, along with the ES response and a commentary.

After much discussion, we have changed the names of the inspecting officers. Some members of the team argued that this should not happen because those individuals should stand accountable for their actions, and because this luxury was not afforded to either the Head of School or Head of Care when misleading statments were issued by the regulators in the aftermath of the closure.

However, a consensus was reached that, for now, we will shield them from direct publicity.

Dear Sir/Madam

The New School, Butterstone

I wish to make a formal complaint about the actions of Education Scotland in relation to The New School, Butterstone, between May 2018 and November 2018.

As you will be aware, these failings had a catastrophic effect on the lives of 24 young people and their families, and the 51 members of staff who supported them.

In summary, my concerns are that:

1. MM was either dishonest or unprofessional in stating to teaching staff during an unannounced inspection in May 2018, that there were two pupils in the school, “at risk of suicide”.

2. As link officer, MM failed to raise any concerns about child protection and safeguarding within the school between February 2017 and May 2018 and thus failed in her duties to identify potential weaknesses in school guidelines.

3. SM and MM refused to discuss the complaint submitted by Perth & Kinross Council to the Registrar of Independent Schools in January 2018 during the unannounced inspection in May 2018, despite the fact that it was this complaint which had triggered the unannounced inspection.

4. SM stated to the Board of Governors of the school on 8th November, 2018 that he had concerns about the quality of leadership in the school without providing school managers with an understanding of what those concerns were or any opportunity to respond, and thus denied them natural justice.

5. SM failed to protect pupils in the school from harm during the period November 20-23, 2018, when he was present in school in an ‘advisory capacity’.

6. Education Scotland advised the Registrar of Independent Schools that there had been two ‘failures’ in the school without identifying what those failures were, nor providing school with an opportunity to respond, and thus denied the school its right to natural justice.

If any former parent or member of staff wishes to raise concerns with us, or ask questions of the investigations team, please contact us at TNS2019@btinternet.com.

We will also be happy to field questions from interested individuals or media professionals. If located overseas, please contact us first by email to setup a Skype/Discord link.

Bill Colley