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Did the Care Inspectorate lie to cause closure of TNS?

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Documentation retrieved from the Registrar of Independent Schools (RoIS) suggests that the Care Inspectorate did not provide an accurate account of the outcome of the police investigation into a staff concern in November 2018, and which led to conditions being imposed on the school along with an improvement notice.. This may then have caused the Scottish Ministers (i.e. John Swinney’s department) to take action against the school and force its closure as the Witherslack Group withdrew immediately these unjustified sanctions were taken.

The document below, produced on 2nd November, was written AFTER a police investigation had concluded that there were no allegations, no child protection matters, no inappropriate behaviour between staff and pupils etc etc.

According to both the Head of School and Head of Care, the child protection guidelines were followed up to the point where it was (correctly) determined that an issue raised by a staff member was about the working practice of colleagues and not child protection. In other words, there can have been no ‘breach’.

The staff members referenced in the concern raised have been completely exonerated, as have both senior managers.

It is not clear why key sections have been redacted but it does imply that the Care Inspectorate failed to inform the RoIS and thus Scottish Ministers that the school had been comprehensively cleared of wrongdoing.

The RoIS also states that the school’s child protection guidelines had been breached when this was clearly not the case. When asked to specify how, the RoIS has been either unable or unwilling to respond. RoIS has also been unable to justify the comment that there had been, “another failing” or identify a previous ‘failing’. Education Scotland were also unable or unwilling to specify any breaches despite informing the Board of Governors that these had occurred.

This all raises serious questions about the competence of both the Care Inspectorate and RoIS if consequences as profound and damaging to pupil mental health and wellbeing as the closure of the school can occur on the basis of something that was known not to have happened.

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Bill Colley