Publication - FOI/EIR release

Closure of New School Butterstone: FOI release

Published: 7 Jan 2019

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
7 Jan 2019
Closure of New School Butterstone: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/18/03649  
Date received: 1 December 2018  
Date responded: 3 January 2019
 
Information requested
 
1   When did the Government first learn of difficulties at the school?
 
2   At what point in time did minsters learn that there was the possibility the school may close?
 
3   When in fact did the government learn the school would close?

4   Have the Government considered there may be legal action against them?

5   Will the Government look at compensation packages for public transport operatoers who have lost three year contracts to transport clients to Butterstone?

6   This is Scotland 2018 what plans have the Government in place to re house the special needs clients in a place of education?

7   John Swinney recently stated that he had a £1 billion budget to modernise and rebuild schools, why could he not offer to save this school out of that budget?

8   It appears the Government, and Mr Swinney in particular see this issue as not important, what are the views on this closure with no apparent solution to solve the problem?”
 
Response
 
I enclose a copy of the information relevant to your request.
 
1   When did the Government first learn of difficulties at the school?

The Government first learnt of difficulties regarding the continuation of the school when the Board of Governors intimated to HM Inspectors, in May 2018, that there were some concerns regarding the viability of the school. This related to financial matters.
 
2   At what point in time did minsters learn that there was the possibility the school may close?

The Scottish Ministers learned, on 12 November 2018, that there was a possibility that the Board of Governors may close the school. However, the Board of Governors were firm that no final decision had been made.

3   When in fact did the government learn the school would close?

The Government learnt that the Board of Governors had decided to close the school on Sunday, 18 November 2018.

4   Have the Government considered there may be legal action against them?

The Government is not aware of any grounds for action against it in relation to the closure of the New School Butterstone.

5   Will the Government look at compensation packages for public transport operators who have lost three year contracts to transport clients to Butterstone?

The Government doesn’t hold any information on this issue. Any entitlement to compensation would be likely to depend on the contracts that the public transport operators had with the proprietor of the New School Butterstone, or with the local authority, and they should be approached for further information.

6   This is Scotland 2018 what plans have the Government in place to re house the special needs clients in a place of education?

The Government doesn’t hold this information. It is for the local authorities responsible for the education of the school’s former pupils to consider this issue. It is the Government’s urgent priority that the safety and wellbeing of the children and young people that attended the school is safeguarded. The authorities, together with Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate, are working closely to ensure that there are appropriate and carefully considered plans for each of the former pupils at the school. This work will focus on the individual needs of each child and young person in order to ensure that they are supported properly and that a suitable solution is found for each one.
 
7   John Swinney recently stated that he had a £1 billion budget to modernise and rebuild schools, why could he not offer to save this school out of that budget?

The new £1 billion Scotland’s Learning Estate Investment Programme will be a joint investment programme with local government to replace poor condition local authority schools, along with a number of other strategic high level outcomes. The funding will be available from 2021, and it will be for individual local authorities to identify their priority projects. This is not intended to support independent schools such as the New School.
 
8   It appears the Government, and Mr Swinney in particular see this issue as not important, what are the views on this closure with no apparent solution to solve the problem?

It is the Government’s urgent priority that the safety and wellbeing of the children and young people who attended the school is safeguarded. The local authorities responsible for the education of the school’s former pupils, together with Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate, have been working with the school and with families to focus on the needs of each young person. Mr Swinney met with families on Friday, 30 November to hear their concerns and will be considering the issues they raised. Local authorities have been working hard with parents to identify suitable alternative care and education provision for each of the children and young people affected by the Board’s decision to close the school.
 
About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses
 

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit 
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000 

The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 
Edinburgh 
EH1 3DG