An independent review into the closure of a residential school for children with additional support needs has been commissioned by the Scottish Government.
The New School Butterstone closed in November 2018, and the review will consider the procedures followed by the school’s board and a range of public bodies in advance of the decision to close.
Parents were told in an email in November 19 that the New School at Butterstone would shut its doors four days later, blaming “increased costs and a reduction of income”.
Forteviot Primary School, previously mothballed, was brought back into use in January for the 13 young people it supported at the special school, before New School Butterstone reopened on May 20.
However, November’s closure came just days after a damning Care Inspectorate report which threatened to remove the school’s registration unless it urgently addressed child protection failings.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney has appointed James Martin CBE to carry out the Independent Review.
Mr Swinney said: “The sudden closure of the New School Butterstone had a significant impact on the pupils, their families and staff, and our priority since then has been to ensure the wellbeing of all the former pupils.
“I have met many of the families and staff and heard their concerns regarding the closure. This Independent Review will consider the actions of all relevant bodies and, if applicable, identify any learning that can enhance practice in the future.”
A Holyrood spokesman said the review will consider the roles and responsibilities of a number of organisations including the school board, the Care Inspectorate, Education Scotland, Registrar of Independent Schools, relevant local authorities and the Scottish Government, in relation to the educational quality, safety, and wellbeing of the children and young people at the school.
The actions and decisions the named bodies took from January 1 2017 to the school closing on November 23 2018 will also be investigated.
This includes the interactions with the school, each other, and the basis on which recommendations were made any written contributions received from the relevant bodies or individuals affected by the decision to close the school
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For more information and to contribute to the review, visit the Scottish Government website.
Mr James Martin CBE has held a number of public appointments, including being the first independent police complaints commissioner, Scottish Public Services Ombudsman and General Secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland. He is also the current Chair of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.
The independent review will begin immediately and is expected to take a number of months to complete.