Scotland’s commissioner for children has written to the council after residents reported “shortcomings” in the council’s decision to close Menzieshill High School.
Tam Baillie, Commissioner for Children and Young People, has written to Dundee City Council’s director of education Michael Wood after concerns were raised by residents about the way the decision to close the school was handled.
In the letter to Mr Wood, Mr Baillie said he was writing to him regarding “reported shortcomings” in the decision-making process.
In his letter, dated August 6 and addressed to Mr Wood at Dundee House, Mr Baillie said his office had recently been contacted in regard to the school closure at Menzieshill.
The letter continues: “I am writing to you concerning reported shortcomings in the process of consultation with children and young people about the proposed school closure.”
He said his office had published guidelines in 2010, which dealt with consulting children and young people on school closures as well as other significant changes.
The letter continued: “I have been told that the principles contained in this guidance were not followed in the consultation process.
“In particular, I have been informed that the consultation facilitators were from the education department.
“Guidance and good practice suggest that, where possible, facilitators should be independent of the local authority and free of any interest in the consultation outcome.”
The council confirmed today it had replied to the letter.
The Rev Bob Mallinson, who spearheaded a campaign to prevent the school from closing, said the Commissioner’s involvement was a “significant” development and he would await their response to council.
Pauline Hinchion, co-convener of the Dundee Green Party, which has supported the campaign, said she hoped the Commissioner would thoroughly examine the council’s response.
A Dundee council spokesman said: “The council has replied to Mr Baillie outlining the steps that were undertaken to listen to the views of pupils and record them during the consultation process around the proposal to close Menzieshill High School.
“As well as engagement in school, young people attended and participated in the public meetings.
“A pupil also addressed the council meeting in June that considered the consultation report.
“Pupils have been kept fully informed and involved with developments.”
A Commissioner’s office spokeswoman said: “We received a reply from Dundee City Council on August 19 2015 and we will respond in due course.”