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The question that won't go away


What did Sandra Wright and Alison Jamieson of the Care Inspectorate tell the Registrar of Independent Schools following a local child protection investigation that had concluded that no wrongdoing had taken place at TNS?

Whatever it was, it caused her to report to John Swinney and to impose conditions on the school, whilst at the same time the Care Inspectorate issued an improvement notice. These actions caused the Witherslack Group to withdraw from a planned takeover and to then fake a safeguarding report to justify this and avoid financial penalties, and also caused the suspension of the Head of School at a critical time.

What is especially puzzling is that the Child Protection Team had also concluded that no incidents took place, that 2 staff members provisionally suspended pending the outcome should return immediately to work, and that the school had acted professionally throughout.

Strange then that the Care Inspectorate improvement notice demanded that steps be taken to ensure that no inappropriate behaviour took place between staff and pupils, and that managers should ensure that there were no conflicts of interest. Strange also that the police officer who investigated the matter stated that it was, “nothing to worry about”.

The statement by the Board of Governors that they were forced to close the school due to, “intolerable pressure” from the regulators is supported by FOI documentation and undermines John Swinney’s claim that his own decisions had no bearing on what happened to the school.

The consensus amongst former school staff and parents is that the Care Inspectorate lied, and that they did so on behalf of Perth & Kinross Council whose Chief Executive had been their own boss until May 2018.

The refusal of the Registrar of Independent Schools to disclose what she told Swinney adds further weight to the argument that a fully independent inquiry should now take place, as does her inability to justify claims that there had been two sets of failings at the school.

These are supposed to be the top people in Scottish education.

This all feels more like Putin’s Russia than a modern democracy.

Bill Colley