Kerelaw's management needs independent scrutiny

22nd June 2007 at 01:00
The report to Glasgow City Council this week on Kerelaw School makes interesting reading, not least because of its vagueness, generalisations and absence of evidence.

Compare Glasgow's report with those of the Care Commission, the Social Services Inspectorate and HM Inspectorate of Education. Prior to June 2004, when Glasgow assumed direct control of Kerelaw, the school was identified as having 12 key strengths by those bodies. After three months, they identified no key strengths.

Prior to June 2004, inspections found relations among young people and care staff were positive. The school had clear policies and procedures for child protection, anti-bullying, abscondings and restraint. Overall, staff applied these consistently.

Young people felt comfortable speaking to staff about bullying incidents, and felt safe and secure. They spoke positively about staff, particularly their key workers.

But reports in October 2004 said: "The complaints procedure did not meet regulatory requirements. Many aspects of the school had deteriorated.

Glasgow had not ensured staffing levels were sufficient to ensure the safety of young people. They had not supported staff in basic management.

"Staff felt insecure because management had not clarified strategies to deal with challenging behaviour. Systems to ensure collaborative practice did not exist. Many staff had only a rudimentary knowledge of child protection issues."

An independent inquiry needs to be set up to examine Glasgow's management of Kerelaw. It needs to examine whether there is any evidence of an abusive regime, as well as the role, efficacy, relevance and competence of external inspection agencies, which consistently found quite the reverse.

Robert G. Forrest Head of Kerelaw 1981-95 Moffat Wynd Saltcoats

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