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Key dates

To help those following this story to understand how the whole scandal unravelled, here are some of the key dates:

23rd September - Staff member delivers note to Head of School marked “Strictly Private and Confidential”. Head of School and Head of Care discuss note and conclude that it cannot be a child protection matter, and that further information is required before they can proceed with an investigation into any weaknesses in working practice. They also consider long track record of staff member causing trouble for her colleagues, that she has stated openly that she “wants to bring the school down”, and that her understanding of care can be poor.

24th September – Head of School emails staff member to state that in order to investigate her concerns about the working practice (any form of touch between staff and pupils) of her colleagues, he will need to discuss with staff team. No staff named in note.

1st October – Staff member agrees that content of note can be disclosed

2nd October – Howard Tenant of Witherslack upholds final warning to staff member following complaint made by Care Inspectorate about her inappropriate behaviour (being rude to pupils). Head of School informs Howard Tennant of the note.

5th October – School finishes for October break

21st October – School returns from October break. Staff member absent. BC agrees to contact her at end of week to determine what her concerns were and who was involved in alleged incidents.

26th October – School contacted by Perth Police (“This is nothing to worry about”). Staff member has filed an anonymous complaint with PKC/Care Inspectorate and named 2 members of staff. Head of School withdraws from further involvement due to potential conflict of interest. IRD meeting arranged for Tuesday 30th October. Sandra Wright refuses to comment on whether or not this is a child protection matter

29th October – Head of School contacts Perth Police for update. Police state that it is a very minor matter.

30th October – IRD meeting. Police pressurised by PKC and Care Inspectorate into holding investigation. 2 staff members issued with precautionary suspension pending investigation. Sandra Wright fails to disclose her own concerns about reliability of staff member or past record of inappropriate behaviour.

31st October – Police interview staff member and contact school to confirm that it is not a child protection matter. Staff member has no concerns about pupil welfare. There were “no allegations”

1st November – Police interview pupils. No incidents have occurred. Pupils feel happy and safe in school

2nd November – Police confirm investigation is over.  Recommend that 2 suspended staff return to work on Monday. Head of School contacts Witherslack to inform them.

Care Inspectorate state that police investigation is insufficient. Insist on independent internal investigation. Staff cannot return to work (this is illegal - Care Inspectorate have no power to do this). Refuse to explain how it is possible to prove that something has not happened. Inform Board that they are taking enforcement action. Witherslack state that they are “very scared”.

Registrar of Independent Schools emails John Swinney about “failure” to follow child protection policies.

5th November – Registrar of Independent Schools writes to Sir Andrew Cubie imposing conditions on the school. Witherslack announce to Board that they are withdrawing from takeover of school (but not to Head of School).

7th November – Board suspend Head of School without asking for explanation of actions. Do not ask to see original note from staff member. Sir Andrew Cubie states that suspension is due to pressure from Care Inspectorate. Head of School warns Sir Andrew Cubie that Witherslack will turn against school

8th November – Sir Andrew Cubie writes to Registrar of Independent Schools to state that there has been a “failure to report” a child protection matter (even though there had been no investigation to determine whether or not this was true, and AFTER the police investigation had concluded that there were no child protection matters)

9th November – Improvement Notice issued. Board fail to challenge legality of enforcement action

10th November – Head of School writes to colleague that he expects Witherslack to produce fake report to justify withdrawal from takeover and that Board will turn against him and Head of Care.

As of 18th September 2019, we have seen no evidence of any failings in the school to justify the actions of the regulators, Board of Governors, or John Swinney. As stated so many times before, TNS is the first school in Scotland to be forced to close because nothing happened.

Still to come

  1. Un-redacted memo from Registrar of Independent Schools to John Swinney informing him of “failure to report” a CP incident. This will reveal what the Care Inspectorate told her on 2nd November

  2. Demand to Care Inspectorate to justify the legality of the enforcement action (7 weeks since submitted)

  3. Demand to Care Inspectorate to produce evidence to justify conditions imposed in Improvement Notice

The Board of Governors has refused to produce any evidence to justify their own actions

Bill Colley