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The PKC campaign against the school

Further evidence has emerged of the campaign to damage the school devised by senior managers at PKC in the wake of the February 2017 tragedy when one young person took their own life just 3 days after being informed by PKC that he would not be funded for another year.

Susie Turner (Inclusion Manager) raised concerns in a Tayside Children’s Services Planning Group immediately after the death and attempted to blame the school for this despite the fact that there was, and is, no evidence that the school played any part in that young man’s decision to take his life, and despite the fact that the family have always been remarkably supportive of a community where he felt very safe and included.

In early May (between 4th and 11th) the then Head of School, Chris Holmes receieved a phone call from Monica McGeever of Education Scotland to say that she had been contacted by Susie Turner who raised concerns about the capacity of the school to meet the emotional needs of pupils.

Ms McGeever advised Susie Turner that such concerns (if they really existed) should be written as a formal complaint. Chris Holmes drafted a letter of complaint about Ms Turner’s unprofessional practice but the Board of Governors would not allow him to send it ‘lest it upset the relationship with the authority’.

In October 2017, Dorothy Henderson wrote to a prospective parent stating that her placing request for the school had been rejected because it had been offered on a trial basis for one term and was thus not a true placing offer. This is despite the fact that the school and authority had agreed that such arrangements were valid.

Between September 2017 and April 2018, Chris Holmes (Head of School) insisted that all meetings between school personnel and PKC officers must be audio-taped because those officers lied about what was discussed and decided, demanded that meeting minutes be changed, and were on occasions verbally abusive and aggressive. A formal complain against one PKC educational psychologist was upheld.

In December 20017, Bill Colley received communication from a former colleague in PKC warning him that there were high level meetings in PKC to discuss how the authority could force the school to close and distract attention from the February tragedy, and that it would be achieved by raising concerns about ‘safeguarding’. Bill was not working at the school but was about to join in January as development manager.

At the end of January 2018, Rodger Hill of PKC wrote to the Registrar of Independent School raising false concerns about the school. Although signed by Mr Hill, the contents of the letter were written by Susie Turner and Dorothy Henderson.

Significantly, the concerns were not raised with the Board of Governors but with the regulators to maximise reputational damage.

At the same time, PKC reported Angie to the SSSC for ‘not following child protection procedures’ (shown to be completely untrue), accused Chris Holmes of not following CP procedures (also untrue), and made the same claim to the Registrar. This is important because these claims are referenced in recent reporting by John Swinney and others and yet have never been tested with any proper scrutiny.

In March 2018, an educational psychologist visiting the school warned Bill Colley that PKC were determined to force the school to close and that he had, “better take care”. This came at a time when both the Care Inspectorate and PKC had embarked on a strategy of non-compliance with the school. Refusing to answer legitimate questions, not responding to emails, and generally being as obstrcuctive as possible.

The January complaint also led directly to the May inspections which took place just 3 weeks after Bill Colley took over the school.

Prior to this, the asumption had been that it was PKC alone who wanted the school closed, but when Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate refused to discuss the January complaint, and then awarded ridiculously low grades at the end of the inspection, school managers knew that the campaign was organised at a higher level. Those reports have an additional significance now because they are being used as an attempt to create the impression that there were serious safeguarding concerns at the school, and yet, to date, NOT ONE PIECE OF EVIDENCE HAS EMERGED OF ANY SERIOUS FAILING DESPITE REPEATED CALLS FOR THE FACTS TO BE LAID BARE.

At around the this time, Karen Reid moved from being Head of the Care Inspectorate to CE of PKC, and Bernadette Malone, who was CE at the time of 2 tragic suicides (including Iain Guthrie’s) moved to the board of the Care Inspectorate. John Fyfe moved from being Sheena Devlin’s manager to the board of Education Scotland, and PKC education officer Frances Graham, who was involved in the decision to refuse funding in February, joined Education Scotland as an inspector. Jacquie Pepper remained in her post as Head of Children’s Services having moved from being a lead inspector with the Care Inspectorate.

Tragically, although the Board of Govenrors had been warned on numerous occasions that the school was now fighting a multi-pronged attack, they were seduced into thinking that a bit of gentle diplomacy would ease tensions and that all would be well in the end.

In contrast, Bill Colley saw an immediate need for reinforcements and made an approach to Witherslack in the hope that they would be able to withstand the forthcoming onslaught.

In November, when things finally erupted, the Board just stood by and allowed that assault to take place, choosing to believe the lies that the Care Inspectorate told them, failing to challenge what was clearly illegal enforcment action, and suspending the Head at a critical time when it was known that he would fight to save the shool.

It was as transparent then as it is now.

The Board was weak, foolish, gullible and ultimately disloyal to the school. The arrogance of each board member blinded them to the fact that they were being systematically deceived. Once the Head was gone, the school had no defences and it was more or less a fait accompli.

PKC got what they wanted.

Their January 2018 complaint has never been scrutinised and they refuse to allow it to be made public because it would show Mr Hill and his colleagues to be liars and demonstrate the true evil of the campaign against the school.

But there is worse to come.

If anyone thinks that what you have read above indicates the inhumanity of those officers in PKC, just wait until the full picture emerges.

Which it will. When the time is right.

Bill Colley