Independent investigation now essential
On April 2nd, the former Head of School wrote a formal complaint to the Care Inspectorate (CI) demanding answers to key questions about the role of that organisation in the forced closure of the school.
The response was received on 14th May.
From the information provided, we can conclude that:
The CI cannot justify the Improvement Notice served on the school in November 2018, and specifically conditions relating to “inappropriate behaviour between staff and pupils”, and “conflicts of interest” in the way matters were handled.
It was the responsibility of the Board of Governors to challenge the improvement notice if it was unjust
The CI is dishonest in stating that they did not they had no involvement in staffing decisions, and in particular, the unjustifiable suspension of the Head of School, nor the extended suspensions of two members of staff.
The Care Inspectorate disagrees with the conclusive findings of the Perth & Kinross Child Protection Team that there were no child protection matters, there had been no incidents to warrant an investigation, there had been no allegations made, and that pupils felt happy and safe in school.
The CI state that the school failed to invoke its child protection procedures when this was clearly untrue, and when the police investigation had already demonstrated that there were no child protection concerns.
The CI is unable/unwilling to explain why it took 5 weeks for the CI to respond to a request by the school that information be provided to allow managers to take appropriate action against an under-performing staff member, and that it did so only after a reminder was sent by the Head of care.
The CI cannot explain how it is possible to prove a negative, i.e. that something had not happened, despite demanding this of the school.
Whilst ‘child protection and safeguarding are the responsibility of all’, they are not the responsibility of care inspectors working in a school. Care inspectors are exempt from this duty.
A false allegation made by a staff member is sufficient to destroy a school/care service.
The CI response now raises serious concerns about the competence of the care regulators and their professional integrity.
Their actions have caused serious long-term harm to 24 children and their families, and to 51 dedicated members of staff who lost their jobs.
Given the inadequacy of their response to the formal complaint, their refusal to answer key questions, and their dishonesty, the case will now be passed on to the SPSO.
The response to the complaint also indicates that deficiencies in the Care Inspectorate appear to be systemic and cultural, and supports the views of both former Heads of School that the organisation lacks credibility and should be abolished and replaced.
We understand that representatives of both the parent and staff support groups will now write to John Swinney MSP to demand a full independent investigation into the closure of the school and that if this is not accepted they will submit a petition to the Scottish Parliament.