Board failed to inform school of closure
As staggering as it may seem, the Head of School was not informed by the Board of Governors that the school had entered administration.
The following message was sent by Bill Colley to Sir Andrew Cubie on 21st December.
“I was informed today at around 11.40 (by a parent) that the school was going into administration. I was called at 12.34 by the administrator to tell me the same news. I wrote several days ago asking for clarification of my position re professional responsibility in such an event but have heard nothing. But that is what I have come to expect.
I assume that my contractual obligations to the Board have now terminated. Please correct me if I am wrong. The administrator appears to expect me to cooperate with the administration process, but I am not aware that I have any duty to do so.
As you will be aware, both Angie and I are appealing the disciplinary decisions taken against us – even though we have been cleared of ‘wrongdoing’. We expect that process to be completed. Please ensure that sufficient insurance cover is available to cover claims against the school for negligence if it can be shown that closure was not necessary, and for defamation if the Board has at any point indicated that there were failings in management to other parties. There were none.
I understand that staff who were expecting to be paid for January/February/March (because that is what had been advised by the school) will not now receive these payments. This will cause considerable distress and anger.
My priority now is to clear the names of staff damaged by recent events and I will be demanding a full investigation to that end. The Board has failed to protect them ( or indeed the school) and so it falls to me to do this.
I will be making a full public statement on 28th December.
As you will be aware, no child has been harmed at the school and we will be the first in Scotland to be closed over something that has not happened.
Have a good Christmas.
The following message was sent to the Board on 7th January:
It is probably important that you are made aware of a conversation that took place today between the Parent Group and Allison Jamieson of the Care Inspectorate.
The question was asked, “Why did the Inspectorate insist that the school should be closed down within 5 days?”
The answer was;
“We did not do that; in fact we tried to persuade the Board to keep the school open and allow 3 months as would be the normal arrangements. It was the Board that insisted on closing the school. Whilst there may have been some shortcomings [Actually, there were none], there was nothing so serious as to warrant the closure of the school. The Board disregarded what we said. We issued an improvement notice and were happy with progress and were willing to extend the time available to satisfy all demands”.
The parents are now demanding to see this in writing.
We are also trying to trace the origin of the phrase, “there were serious child protection concerns”. As you will be aware, there were none.
The statement from Allison Jamieson conflicts with what I was told at the time of my suspension, and with information provided to staff in the final meeting before Christmas.
Staff and parent groups are now very well connected and have established a website to accommodate documentation and the keep the closure story alive. We are all demanding an independent inquiry.
I am now being approached by local councillors who are not believing what their education officers are telling them and want the truth.
At an individual level, the suffering has been immense. Aside from the reputational damage, families are suffering significant financial hardship, and of 24 pupils, only 2 have found suitable placements.
If the Care Inspectorate is telling the truth, blame for the closure will now fall on Board members and I urge you to issue a statement clarifying what happened in the two Board meetings prior to closure.