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Puzzled and confused

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We know that we keep returning to this question, but why did Sir Andrew Cubie write to the Registrar of Independent Schools AFTER the police investigation had concluded that there were no child protection concerns to state that there had been, “a failure to report a child protection matter”?

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The significance of this is that both John Swinney and the Registrar herself are now using this as evidence that there had been a failing, and thus avoiding the painful truth that they imposed conditions on the school and precipitated its closure on the basis of nothing at all.

This means that Sir Andrew himself is now being blamed for the tragedy that unfolded in November, rather than the illegal actions of the Care Inspectorate, or the breathtakingly stupid decisions taken by the Scottish Government.

Given that the issue raised by the member of staff who wrote the note was clearly about the professional practice of her colleagues, there was never any need to report that to either the regulators or to the Board of Governors. As it happened, the matter was reported to Howard Tennant of the Witherslack Group when he chaired the disciplinary appeal for that employee, and one must remember that it was Witherslack who had claimed to be in charge of the school at the time and not the Board.

We know that school managers asked repeatedly for clarification on what their responsibilities were to both Board and Witherslack but were never given a copy of the management agreement signed in August, nor clear protocols on reporting arrangements during the transition period.

All of this creates a picture of incompetence and confusion during a critical period for the school when managers were trying to keep numerous plates spinning but getting no support from above.

We are also intrigued to know if John Swinney took the action he promised when one pupil informed him at a meeting in December that an external professional had encouraged him to lie during the police investigation and claim that he had been hit by a member of staff.

If not, there has been a clear ‘failure to report’. And this time it is serious.

We wait to hear if Mr Swinney will be suspended and his department forced to close.

But we are not holding our breath.

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Bill Colley