Closure of the New School Butterstone: independent review report

The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills commissioned this independent review, conducted by James Martin CBE, into the closure of the New School Butterstone to consider the procedures and circumstances which led to the closure.

Annex B: Relevant Bodies

The Board

The Board of Governors at the time of the school closure consisted of a Chair and six trustees. There were two further Governors who retired during the period this Review covered. These Governors were responsible for the School's education activities and operations. The Head of School, teachers and support staff were employed by the Governors. All legal and regulatory duties were the responsibility of this Board. Much of the implementation of the Board's policies at the School were overseen on behalf of the Board by two committees: the Business Committee and the Education and Care Committee.

The Care Inspectorate

The Care Inspectorate is the national regulator for care services in Scotland. Their role is to provide assurance and protection for people who use social services, their families and carers and the wider public. They also play a key part in improving social services for adults and children across Scotland and act as a catalyst for change and innovation. Lastly they work to promote good practice. It is a body corporate, constituted by s44 of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (the 2010 Act).

In terms of section 114 of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act, the Care Inspectorate has a duty to co-operate and co-ordinate their scrutiny activity with other persons, bodies and office-holders listed in that Act and, where appropriate, with Scottish Ministers. A memorandum of understanding between the Care Inspectorate and HM Inspectors sets out a framework for co-operation and collaboration between the two organisations in respect of Joint Inspections responsibilities and areas of mutual interest in relation to their respective inspection responsibilities. This is in recognition of this complimentary provision in order to avoid duplication and regulatory burdens, improving efficiency, effectiveness and economy.

These joint or shared inspections, which are relevant to the period under review at the School can focus on, for example, services for children and young people, including safeguarding

The 2010 Act a gives the Care Inspectorate legal powers to take enforcement action. This means the Care Inspectorate can change or impose new conditions of registration, which control how a service can operate. It can also serve an improvement notice on a service to require it to improve within a set timescale. If the service doesn't make these improvements, the Care Inspectorate can cancel its registration. The Care Inspectorate also has power to make an application to the sheriff court for cancellation of the registration of a care service, should any person be at serious risk to their life, health or wellbeing.

Education Scotland

Education Scotland is the Scottish Government executive agency charged with supporting quality and improvement in Scottish education. Its status as an executive agency means that it operates independently, whilst remaining directly accountable to Scottish Government ministers for the standards of its work. This status safeguards the independence of inspection, review and reporting within the overall context of the National Performance Framework.

Scottish Minister's powers to cause inspection of educational establishments and services are set out in legislation, namely the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 at section 66 where power is given to cause inspection of every school, including independent schools. Inspectors are referred to as 'Her Majesty's inspectors' and are referred to within this report as HM Inspectors.

Inspection and review supports improvement and provides assurance on quality and improvement in Scottish education in order to promote the highest standards of learning. Following these inspections by HM Inspectors, or any combination of inspectors and appointed persons, Scottish Ministers can then take enforcement action against an independent school through serving a Notice of Complaint on a school's proprietors, or imposing conditions on the running of the school.

The Scottish Ministers may determine whether a school is objectionable, or at risk of becoming so, on one or more of the grounds listed in section 99(1A) of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980. Where the Scottish Ministers are satisfied a school is at risk of becoming objectionable, the Scottish Ministers may impose conditions on the running of a school to seek improvement. Where a school is found to be objectionable, the Scottish Ministers will serve a Notice of Complaint which outlines why the school has been found objectionable and direct the school to make changes to improve. The Registrar of Independent Schools administers these processes.

The Independent Schools (Special and Residential Special Schools) Inspection team carried out a range of activities relevant to the School. These includes annual engagement visits, full inspections and short model inspections, and death in care reviews. Information gathered from these inspections and visits is shared with the Registrar of Independent Schools and Ministers, Each independent School has its own HM Inspector allocated to it as the main point of contact. The wider team includes a Head of Scrutiny, a sector Lead Inspector.

In some cases Scottish Ministers invite HM Inspectors to undertake a special inspection under Section 66 (1AA)(b) of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980.

The Registrar of Independent Schools

The Registrar of Independent Schools (the Registrar) is a Scottish Government official, appointed by Scottish Ministers, who has a statutory responsibility for the maintenance of the Register of Independent Schools. Part 5 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 (the 1980 Act) as amended sets out the legislative framework within which all independent schools must operate.

While the Registrar is housed within Education Scotland, the role of Registrar is separate and distinct from the inspection functions. HM Inspectors liaise with the Registrar in order to provide independent scrutiny, carrying out pre and post registration inspections including visits to Schools who wish to amend their registration, and provide advice to the Registrar and Scottish Ministers who deal with Section 99 Complaints about independent schools. This can be done through reviewing documents and/or carrying out visits to the school or special inspections to determine whether policies and procedures are appropriate and being implemented effectively.

Whilst the Registrar is regularly updated on appropriate matters by both the Care Inspectorate and HM Inspectors, it is also the case that the Registrar then shares information proactively in return, including intelligence gathered from ongoing discussions with schools. This is detailed in a Memorandum of Understanding between the Registrar of Independent Schools and the Care Inspectorate.

It is important to note that neither the Registrar or HM Inspectors have the locus to investigate individual complaints and the purpose of an inspection is to consider the methods used by the school to assess the policies and procedures in place.

Perth and Kinross Council and other local authorities

All Councils are the Education Authority for their own local government area. As Education Authority, the Council has a range of powers and duties in relation to pupils in its area which are relevant for the purposes of this Review.

The Council has a general duty to secure adequate and efficient provision of education in its area). In this context, school education means progressive education appropriate to the requirements of pupils, with regard also being had to the age, ability and aptitude of pupils (Education (Scotland) Act 1980 section 1).

The Council has a duty to ensure that where it provides, or arranges education for pupils, this is directed to the development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of the child or young person to their fullest potential (Standards in Scotland's Schools Act 2000 section 2(1)). The Council also has a duty to identify and meet the additional support needs of pupils in its area. The Council has a range of duties in relation to pupils with additional support needs (Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 section 4).

The Council must: make adequate and efficient provision for such additional support as is required by that child or young person; and make appropriate arrangements for keeping under consideration the needs and adequacy of support provided for each child or young person.

In the majority of cases, children are educated within their local catchment school or another school managed by the Education Authority. A small number of children with additional support needs are educated in independent educational establishments such as The New School Butterstone. This may be the case where the Education Authority has determined that the needs of that pupil are such that a placement in such a school is necessary (section 14 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980). It may also be as a result of a parental placing request under the 2004 Act. Such requests must be granted by the Education Authority unless a ground of refusal under the Act exists (section 22 and Schedule 2 of the 2004 Act). If those requests are granted, the Education Authority has to pay the fees and other outlays of that placement.

In both of these cases, the Education Authority remains responsible for the school education of the pupil (section 2(1) of the 200 Act) and for ensuring that additional support needs are met (section 4 2004 Act).

Education Authorities have a duty to raise standards in the delivery of school education. The Council must "endeavour to secure improvement in the quality of school education which is provided in schools managed by them". This duty also applies where the Council has made arrangements for the pupil to be educated in an independent educational establishment (section 3 of the 2000 Act).

The Council is also social work authority and as such is responsible for child protection, safeguarding and wellbeing within the area. The Council has duties under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011, to assess and investigate where children may be a risk of harm or in need of support.

There is a national framework for Child Protection set out in the National Child Protection Guidance published by the Scottish Government (2014). This sets out the roles, responsibilities and expectations placed on the Council, other statutory agencies and other providers of services to children, such as independent schools. In particular, it sets out the collective responsibility for child protection (at page 40).

Each local authority area also has a Child Protection Committee working to improve and promote good practice for all involved in child protection, ensure consistency in practice and procedure and support multi-agency training and development. For example in the case of the School, the Perth and Kinross Child Protection Committee publishes multi-agency guidance for all services operating within the local authority area. These Perth and Kinross Inter-Agency Child Protection Guidelines support and empower the practice of all practitioners in the public, private and third sector organisations across Perth and Kinross, including services within the local authority. The guidelines complement, but do not replace existing single service and agency child protection guidance and cover comprehensively the locally agreed processes for reporting concerns about children who may be at risk and how to respond.

The Council also has responsibilities in relation to adult support and protection, which applies to adults over the age of 16. The Council has duties to make inquiries in relation to adults at risk under the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007. There is both national and local multi-agency guidance in relation to the protection of vulnerable adults which provides a framework for those working in this field. The Council also has responsibility for the establishment of the Adult Protection Committee, which undertakes a similar role to the Child Protection Committee.

Scottish Government

The Scottish Government and Scottish Ministers are responsible for overseeing the work of Education Scotland, and have the power to cause inspections of schools as well as impose conditions on the running of an independent school or serve a notice of complaint on the proprietors of an independent school.

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills

Other organisations consulted with as part of the Review

The Witherslack Group is an independent, special needs education schools and care programmes provider, offering private, therapeutic provision for children and young people aged from 4 to 19 with a range of special needs, including autism and ADHD, across the UK. Witherslack was intending to take-over the running of the School and was in negotiations to do so. This take-over did not eventually take place.

The Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) provides information, guidance and advice to member schools and their governing bodies about all issues affecting independent schools in Scotland.



Back to top