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Back to basics

Just a quick summary of where things stand. We will add to this when new developments emerge.

Some facts

1.       There was no ‘child protection matter’ that could, or should have been reported in November 2018

2.       The Registrar of Independent Schools has refused to disclose what she informed John Swinney following the Care Inspectorate’s communication with her after the police-led investigation (this is now in the hands of the Information Commissioner)

3.       The Board of Governors is refusing to identify the evidence which led them to suspend the Head of School, or to justify that decision

4.       The Board of Governors has not requested an independent inquiry into the whole affair

5.       Witherslack had no concerns about the school until enforcement action was taken by John Swinney and the Care Inspectorate

6.       The Registrar of Independent Schools is unable to identify what caused her to state to the Board of Governors that there had been two or more failings at the school

7.       The Care Inspectorate informed the Registrar of Independent Schools that the school had failed to follow its child protection procedures in November 2017 – the SSSC stated that, “child protection procedures had been followed at all times”

8.       Perth and Kinross informed the Registrar of Independent Schools that there had been a failure to follow child protection procedures – the SSSC stated that, “child protection procedures had been followed at all times”

9.       John Swinney has stated that the closure of the school was unconnected with the action that he and the Care Inspectorate took

10.   John Swinney is unable to identify the “serious child protection concerns” that caused him to impose conditions on the school

11.   Education Scotland advised against support for school despite the fact that the majority of the pupils could not be educated elsewhere

12.   Care standards during the 4 days when the school was overseen by PKC, the Care Inspectorate, and Education Scotland fell to unacceptable levels

13.   Board of Governors failed to consider alternatives to closure or hold a scoping exercise into financial health of school and possible options for takeover

14.   The closure of the school in 5 days was in financial and humanitarian terms, catastrophic for pupils and staff

15.   PKC complaint to Registrar of Independent Schools in January 2018 has yet to be investigated as a possible fraud

Next steps

1.       John Swinney to make decision about public inquiry into the closure of the school

2.       Petition to Parliament if Swinney rules against investigation

3.       Potential judicial review of Swinney decision on conflict of interest grounds

4.       Information Commissioner to rule on the redaction of the crucial memo from the Registrar of Independent Schools to John Swinney

5.       Care Inspectorate to respond to direct questions about the legality of the enforcement action they took

6.       Head of School’s FOI request to Care Inspectorate to be completed (subject access request – i.e. all information held by the inspectorate about his actions)

7.       SSSC and GTCS to conclude investigations into Head of School and Head of Care’s decision to regard staff concern as a working practice matter and not child protection

8.       FOI data to be released on the number of occasions that conditions have been imposed on independent schools

9.       FOI data to be released on the amount of funding provided by John Swinney to PKC

Bill Colley