What would have happened if the Board of Governors had refused Care Inspectorate demands to close the school (“If you don’t close it, we will”)?
The Care Inspectorate would have issued notice that registration would be withdrawn.
There would then be 14 days for the Board to challenge the decision at Sheriff court. This would have been inexpensive and would have provided an opportunity for the ‘evidence’ to be presented of any ‘failings’.
There were no failings. The police-led child protection investigation demonstrated that.
The school would then have presented the law as it stands and challenged the Care Inspectorate to demonstrate that they had acted lawfully and according to Section 62 of the Public Service Reform Act (2010).
The Care Inspectorate did not act lawfully.
For any enforcement action to take place there would have to be clear evidence that;
Informal enforcement action had taken place - none did
There had been a serious breach of regulations - there had been none
There were poor outcomes for service users - there were none
The school would then have demonstrated that the Care Inspectorate acted criminally by providing false information to both the Registrar of Independent Schools and to the Board of Governors. In other words, they committed fraud.
The Board would then have used case law to demonstrate that significant harm would be done to 24 young people if the school were to close and that this should be judged as unreasonable and disproportionate (under public law).
No Sheriff would have permitted the withdrawal of registration to stand.
The school would still be there and the trauma of closure would have been avoided.
24 pupils would still have their safe and supportive community, and 50 loyal and dedicated members of staff would still have their jobs.
Ironically, the reason why Moore House became interested in the school is because Bill Colley contacted them while he was suspended because he had heard thay they had found themselves in a similar situation and taken the Care Inspectorate to court.
So why did the Board show the white flag and abandon a school community that staff had fought so hard to save after the February 2017 tragedy?
2 theories persist.
They were blackmailed by the threat of reputational damage to themselves if the Care Inspectorate forced closure, and so they calculated that by attributing blame to Angie and Bill, they could escape lightly.
They were just out of their depth, gullible, and foolish. No school has ever been forced to close because of something so minor, or indeed something that has not happened. They panicked. They heard what the regulators had to say, read the Tennant Report and became so overwhelmed that they lost all sense of reason and proportionality.
Whichever is true, history will judge their failure to save the school as a very dark day in the history of school governance.
It was pupils and staff who paid the price for their failure.
Never has so much been owed by so few to so many.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!