New School Butterstone closure: independent review - terms of reference

Terms of reference for the independent review of the closure of the New School Butterstone in Perthshire.


The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills has commissioned this independent Review to consider the procedures followed by the Board of The New School Butterstone (the school), the Care Inspectorate, Education Scotland, Registrar of Independent Schools, all relevant local authorities and the Scottish Government (the relevant  bodies) in advance of the decision by the Board of Governors to close the school, and the school’s care accommodation service, on 23 November 2018. 

The Review will focus on these procedures and circumstances (such as the imposition of conditions on the running of the school by the Scottish Ministers via the Registrar of Independent Schools and the serving of an improvement notice on the school by the Care Inspectorate) to provide reassurance to all those affected.

The overriding purpose of the Review is to consider this information fully and, if applicable, identify any learning that could enhance practice in the future.

The Review will be led by James Martin CBE (the Reviewer) and will be supported by officials from the Scottish Government who will act independently in this regard. The Reviewer will report to Scottish Ministers and the relevant bodies, and will hold information on their behalf with due regard being taken to any issues related to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Appropriate information sharing protocols with relevant bodies will be established. 


The scope of the review is set out below. In the first instance the reviewer will consider the following:

  • the roles and responsibilities of the relevant bodies in relation to the educational quality, safety, and wellbeing of the children and young people attending the school.  
  • the actions and decisions the relevant bodies took from 1 January 2017 to the school closing on 23 November 2018. This includes the interactions with the school, each other, and the basis on which recommendations and requirements were placed upon the school. 
  • any written contributions received from the relevant bodies, or individuals affected by the decision to close the school

Having considered the roles, responsibilities and actions of the relevant bodies and any written contributions, and having met with these organisations, the reviewer will then be in a position to decide if they wish to meet with other relevant organisations and persons affected by the decision to close the school, with due regard being taken again to any issues related to GDPR and the duty of care to employees.


It will be for the reviewer to develop their own work plan and timescales for the Review, dependent on the final scope of the work.  


The reviewer will prepare a written report to the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills and the relevant bodies, outlining any recommendations that the reviewer sees fit. As previously stated, all information gathered and published will be processed in accordance with GDPR.

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