Abuse of vulnerable young people was “prevalent” at a Scottish school due to poor staff training and inaction by Glasgow Council, an independent inquiry has concluded.
Pupils at Kerelaw residential school and secure unit in Stevenson, Ayrshire, were subjected to abuse including painful restraints, the inquiry commissioned by the Scottish Executive and Glasgow Council found.
Staff also failed to maintain appropriate boundaries with young people and the complaints system was “inconsistent” at the school, which closed in 2005.
In 2007, Glasgow Council’s own investigation reported that 159 people from Kerelaw had made between 350 and 400 allegations of emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Two staff were later convicted of physical and sexual abuse, and one of physical abuse.
The separate inquiry by retired civil servant Eddie Frizzell, published today, found that a senior management “churn” and staffing difficulties affected the quality of care.
It also found “little evidence of sustained action” by Glasgow Council despite repeated concerns raised in inspection reports over many years. The inquiry concluded that the authority “did not give Kerelaw the attention it deserved” and that former school staff criticised the council’s handling of its own investigation as “aggressive and over-long”.
Glasgow Council leader Steven Purnell said the authority accepted the inquiry’s recommendations, which included improved staff supervision and performance management.
“I believe that we can learn key lessons from this report and can confirm the commitment of Glasgow Council to ensure that the circumstances which led to this inquiry are not repeated,” he said.