Kerelaw school to close after critical inspection

A residential school in Scotland will close, Glasgow Council
announced this week, following allegations of abuse of children
with emotional and behavioural difficulties, writes
Maria Ahmed.

Twenty-three staff are currently suspended or redeployed at
Kerelaw school in Ayrshire while Glasgow Council and Strathclyde
Police investigate claims of inappropriate use of physical

The school provides care and secondary education in its open
school and four residential units for up to 50 young people.

The council announced the closure after an investigation by the
Care Commission and education inspectorate found many staff had not
received any training in using safe restraint.

The investigation found workers had only a
“rudimentary” knowledge of child protection issues,
resulting in “major weaknesses” in practices to ensure
children felt safe and secure. Not all young people had an
identified rights or advocacy worker, and were often unable to make
complaints in confidence.

It also highlighted low staff morale, with many workers feeling
“insecure” about the management’s failure to
clarify strategies to deal with challenging behaviour.

The investigation began in August 2004 following a range of
complaints and allegations made by residents and employees. In
addition to closing the open school, the council is to withdraw
from managing the secure unit.

Council leader Charlie Gordon said the authority would now look
for alternative placements for the 16 young people currently
attending the open school as “a matter of urgency”.


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