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Analysis

We are now 6 months on from the closure of TNS.

During that time we have been working to establish the facts underlying the decision to close the school, and as things stand:

  1. No evidence has been produced of any child protection or safeguarding concerns that could justify the pressure placed on the Board of Governors to announce closure. To date, the following have been unable to provide evidence to support their own actions or statements at the time:

    1. The Care Inspectorate

    2. Education Scotland

    3. The Registrar of Independent Schools

    4. John Swinney

    5. The Board of Governors

    6. Perth & Kinross Council

  2. There appears to be no evidence to support the imposition of an improvement notice or ‘conditions’, or for the school to be considered as ‘objectionable’ under current guidance

  3. There appears to be no justification for the suspension of the Head of School in November 2018

We must now consider how the various parties who contributed to closure will play their hands over the coming weeks.

All concerned appear to be distancing themselves from the positions that they took in November, fearful perhaps of legal proceedings which might demand of them firm evidence to support their actions. In other words, nobody wants to be associated with the assertion that there were child protection or safeguarding concerns.

The likelihood is that the burden of responsibility will now fall on the Care Inspectorate and on the Witherslack Group’s fake report (the Tennant Report). The actions of the Board are also likely to come under heavy scrutiny given their apparent failure to apply a level of due diligence in their decision-making, and because statements made during that period now appear to be ‘inconsistent with the truth’.

For all concerned, the main difficulty they face is that of potential financial claims for the harm that has been done, not only to the families affected, but to the members of staff who have lost significant sums of money and professional reputations, but also experienced psychological damage by being falsely accused of failing young people under their care.

As forecast several weeks ago, the united front that appeared in the immediate aftermath of the closure has now disappeared as each organisation or individual tries desperately to off-load responsibility onto scapegoats from within their own ranks. It makes pinning the blame on any one organisation extremely difficult as all appear to have displayed gross professional incompetence in their management of the situation that arose in October 2018.

But incompetence alone can never explain what happened. There was something very disturbing about the whole affair and the way in which staff and pupils became mere collateral damage in a brutal and ill-thought through campaign to destroy the school community.

One thing is clear. This story is not going to disappear.

Someone at some point will have to start telling the truth. And when that happens, we might finally know for sure what has been suspected for the last 2 years.

Bill Colley