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Letter sent to John Swinney

Dear Mr Swinney

Today marks 100 days since we first wrote to you requesting a full independent investigation into the closure of The New School, Butterstone.

As you will be aware, the closure caused immense distress to pupils and their families, and to staff who have still to recover from the February 2017 tragedy.

What we know now is that;

  1. Nothing happened that could possibly justify the imposition of conditions on the school or the issuance of an improvement notice

  2. There was no failure to report a child protection matter because there was no child protection matter to report

  3. The improvement notice that was issued was based on ‘allegations’ that were already known to be untrue

  4. Senior managers were accused by the regulators of a failure to report ‘allegations’ that they themselves have not yet seen and could not therefore report. In other words, they were accused of an offence that they could not possibly have committed.

  5. The Care Inspectorate acted illegally and failed to follow its own procedures, or the requirements laid down in Section 62 of the Public Services Reform Act (2010)

  6. The basic principles of natural justice have been ignored by the regulators

  7. Certain actions of the Care Inspectorate may be judged by the courts to have been criminal in nature

  8. The withdrawal of Witherslack from a takeover agreement and the decision of the Board to close the school were both the result of the actions taken by the regulators and for no other demonstrable reason

  9. Despite your own assurances at the time, some local authorities failed to support young people and families in the aftermath of the closure

  10. The professional integrity and political independence of the education and care regulators appear to have been compromised and resulted in poor decision making, and unjustifiable action against the school

No child or young person was harmed at the school nor placed at risk.

Significant harm was caused to children and young people by the closure of the school and for some, this is ongoing.

We believe that is now of the utmost importance that a full investigation takes place to ensure that if serious mistakes were made, lessons can be learnt to ensure that no other school community is destroyed in this way, and remediation takes place to ensure that justice is delivered to the innocent victims of this scandal.

Yours sincerely


Susan Briggs

Lee Archibald

Angie Gordon

Bill Colley

Bill Colley