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Squalid and depressing

Members of the Perth & Kinross Inclusion Team were instructed in September 2017 to cause as much reputational damage as possible to TNS following the February 2017 tragedy when pupil took his own life just 3 days after PKC had informed him that they would not provide funding for him to continue at the school.

Former Head of School, Chris Holmes drafted a complaint to Bernadette Malone (Chief Executive Officer of PKC) in September following revelations that Susie Turner had voiced concerns in a multi-agency meeting about the quality of care at the school even though the family of that pupil had praised the support and care that he had received, but the Board of Governors did not allow the complaint to be sent.

Just days later, TNS staff were subjected to aggressive behaviour from a PKC educational psychologist and their complaint was on this occasion upheld.

Senior TNS managers complained of “dishonest and unprofessional conduct” from other members of the Inclusion Team and Mr Holmes was forced to insist that all meetings between TNS staff and PKC had to be recorded to ensure that PKC officer behaved appropriately.

PKC then lodged fabricated concerns about the school in a letter to the Registrar of Independent Schools in January 2018 and made false accusations about the Head of Care, Angie Gordon and the Head of School. They have subsequently refused to allow this complaint to be published for fear that their own failings will be exposed.

It became clear in May 2018 that PKC and the Care Inspectorate were working together when the latter published an inspection report that was illogical, dishonest and aimed at further damaging the school. CI officers failed to justify the inspection ratings or provide any credible evidence that care standards in the school had declined over a period when staff and parents knew that they had improved.

In late October, an Initial Referral Discussion meeting held at the insistence of the Care Inspectorate and PKC was attended by Gill Taylor (Educational Psychologist), Sheila Brook, and Kim Fraser (Ed Psych) as well as Sandra Wright from the Care Inspectorate.

Gill Taylor withheld critical information from that meeting, namely that she had within the previous few days interviewed one of the pupils named in a concern raised by a disgruntled staff member, and that he had expressed no concerns about care in the school. Such an omission is a very serious offence when child protection matters are being considered.

Sandra Wright also failed to express concerns that she herself had raised about the working practices of the staff member which would have guided the police when they reluctantly agreed to investigate what we now know were spurious concerns. She had also failed to respond for 5 weeks to requests from the Head of Care for information about the staff member and only did so after Angie Gordon wrote to her line manager.

It is now very clear that the Care Inspectorate acted illegally when they issued an improvement notice following the conclusion of that investigation and that they lied to the Registrar of Independent Schools for a second time when they stated that there had been a failing in child protection procedures at the school.

The Care Inspectorate and PKC succeeded in bringing down the school through dishonesty and professional incompetence, and in doing so caused immense harm to vulnerable young people.

If, as predicted, John Swinney refuses demands for a full independent investigation, the finger of blame will point in his direction.

Corruption on this scale has to be sanctioned from the top. And there is no one higher than he.

Bill Colley