A full-length film documenting the events leading to the closure of the school and its impact on pupils, parents and members of staff is currently in production.
Treehouse Productions have conducted 40+ interviews with pupils, parents and former staff of the school and have released this promotional trailer. This will be used in a global campaign to raise funding for the final film which they hope to present at an independent film festival in the summer.
The power of this film will challenge the regulatory authorities and politicians in Scotland and hopefully lead to a fairer and more transparent system for assessing school performance.
Key themes will include;
What the new school did
The long campaign against the school by PKC
The events leading to closure
The ultimate betrayal
The impact of closure on pupils and their families
“Mud Sticks tells the story of a unique institution that cared for and educated some of the most vulnerable young people in Scotland. Students with autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, foetal alcohol syndrome, and with experiences of trauma and neglect all found a home at The New School in Highland Perthshire.
"Late in 2018, staff and students were told that the school would close in four days. The day after the announcement, with staff and students still reeling, a ‘multi-agency taskforce’ was sent into the school to manage the final week, isolating the students from one another, removing them from the grounds without warning, and not allowing them to say goodbye to their friends and to the staff they had built relationships with. For many of the students, the school had been the first time they’d ever had friends or adults they could talk to.
"The reasons for such a sudden and cruel closure, which caused untold damage to its students and their families, remain deeply suspicious. Increasingly contradictory statements have been issued by the school’s Board of Governors, the local authority, the care and education regulators and the Scottish Government. ‘Financial reasons’ were cited by some, without any credible evidence that the financial situation was serious enough to warrant a closure. ‘Child Protection Concerns’ were cited by others, who have since refused to provide any evidence for what these were. No explanation has been provided for why emergency measures weren’t put in place to meet international guidance for transitioning vulnerable young people.
"It is now the firmly-held, and near-universal, belief among staff and parents at The New School that its closure was orchestrated and motivated by economic and political priorities, in a time when tightening budgets and “the presumption to mainstream” has led to the persecution of expensive specialist schools where the authorities are obliged to send children who have not coped in the mainstream system. Demands for an independent enquiry into the closure have been dismissed, despite considerable evidence of wrongdoing (see TNS2019.org). There are accusations of a political cover-up at the highest levels.
"The vast majority of students still have nowhere to go. Since the closure, individual students have attacked their parents, been arrested by the Police, run away from home, and expressed suicidal ideation. Several are now at high risk of being taken into care.
"Mud Sticks delves into the lives of the students, families and staff at The New School, examining the impact of the sudden closure and asking serious questions of the authorities involved in its closure."