We thought that it would be helpful to summarise our findings to date for those joining as we enter the 10th month of the campaign.
PKC mounted a campaign of non-co-operation and hostility against the school in September 2017 following the tragic death of a pupil who took his life just 3 days after they informed him that no further funding would be provided to allow him to stay at the school. Bernadette Malone and John Fyfe were in post at the time of the death.
School managers had to resort to audio-taping all meetings with PKC officers because of their dishonesty. PKC officer accused of deliberately causing reputational damange to school in multi-agency meeting.
PKC lodge complaint against the school with the Registrar of Indpendent Schools in which they make a number of false allegations. That complaint has never been scrutinised.
Karen Reid moves from Head of the Care Inspectorate to Chief Executive Officer of PKC.
Bernadette Malone moves from PKC to the board of the Care Inspectorate
John Fyfe moves from PKC to Education Scotland
An unannounced inspection takes place in May 2018 just 3 weeks after a new Head of School takes over. The findings are described as bizarre. Governors consider legal challenge.
School managers report to the Board of Governors, staff and parents that the school is now on a ‘war footing’ with PKC and the Care Inspectorate clearly out to close it down
The Head of School seeks reinforcements by arranging a takeover from the Witherslack Group - agreement signed in August with full takeover to take place in January 2019.
September 2018, a staff member facing a disciplinary charge raises concerns against 2 colleagues. School managers report this to Witherslack.
Care Inspectorate decide that it is a child protection matter and should have been reported to them
Police-led investigation concludes that concerns raised were false, that the school is a safe and happy place, that no allegations were made, that there were no child protection matters to report. I.e. that school managers had made the correct decisions.
Care Inspectorate take (illegal) enforcement action despite investigation findings. John Swinney imposes conditions. Head of School suspended despite the fact that nothing had happened and that it was not his responsibility to report child protection matters. Witherslack withdraw from takeover and to avoid financial penalties, fabricate a safeguarding report.
Board announce closure of school due to “intolerable pressure from the regulators”. Head of school seeks new provider (“because the board are doing nothing”). Parents and staff demand full investigation
John Swinney claims that the closure had nothing to do with the action he and the regulators took
PKC fail to make provision for 13 pupils displaced by closure despite £150,000 of government funding. Registration for new school agreed after months of pressure from staff and parent support groups
Investigations team uncover full scale of the corruption that led to the closure of the school. Actions of the Care Inspectorate shown to be illegal and potentially criminal.
Senior PKC officers shown to have lied to elected members and PKC employees.
Impact of corruption:
1. A successful business with a £1.3 million turnover was closed down
2. A planned takeover and injection of £1.5m was lost
3. Additional staffing of 10-15 employees was lost
4. 51 employees lost their jobs
5. 24 existing pupils with very high levels of need, were left without educational placements (several will never go to school again)
6. Pupils who had been safe in school were placed in unsafe situations
7. Pupils and their parents/carers experienced significant trauma
8. 8 prospective pupils were left with no school to go to and around 50 who had applied for, or shown interest in placements, were left without that option
9. Enormous reputational damage was caused to professionals who had done nothing wrong.
10. Two managers falsely accused by the Care Inspectorate of failing to report a child protection matter may never be able to work again
11. Significant financial hardship was caused by the abrupt closure two members of staff who were owed notice and holiday pay