Council cleared over vulnerable children abuse concerns

Dundee City Council acted “correctly and promptly” to concerns about the abuse of pupils at Kingspark School, a review has found.

Independent education consultant Alistair Marquis said he found “nothing that raised concerns about how staff ensured children’s safety and wellbeing” at the school.

However Mr Marquis has made a number of recommendations to the council about improvements that can be made in communications between the school and families.

Mr Marquis said: “Having scrutinised all evidence available to me, I am satisfied that the council enacted their child protection procedures correctly and as promptly as it could in each case once concerns were drawn to the attention of the relevant staff.

“My review report will highlight that the correct reporting procedures were not always used by organisations and individuals to raise concerns and that this, and the resulting unhelpful time delays, often made the gathering of appropriate evidence very difficult.

“I spent time in the school observing practice and saw nothing that raised concerns about how staff ensured children’s safety and wellbeing. I also noted that many families are very happy to have their children at Kingspark School.

“Overall, I am satisfied that the child protection concerns raised were dealt with appropriately. However, communications between home and school, and relationships with a small number of families of children at the school could be improved. The school has already set about addressing these matters.

“My report will also highlight a number of other aspects requiring review and improvement which I am now encouraging the council, relevant agencies and individuals to take forward.”

Dundee City council chief executive David Dorward said: “We are committed to implementing recommendations of this independent review. We have every confidence in Mr Marquis, the process he has undertaken and the recommendations that he has made in his comprehensive and thorough review. Any changes or additions to the council’s policy and procedures which are suggested by the review will be made.”

Mr Dorward said a report will go before a committee in June, and the recommendations would be put in place before the new school year in August.

Jane Martin, chair of the Dundee Child Care And Protection Committee added: “Kingspark caters for some of the most vulnerable children within Dundee and the surrounding area. We have taken the families’ concerns extremely seriously and that is why an independent review was commissioned by the committee.

“The committee met this morning to receive the findings.

“All of the recommendations cotained in the report by Mr Marquis have been accepted by the constituent agencies.”

A group of parents claimed their children were physically abused at the School and say their complaints have never been properly investigated. Seven families raised concerns about the way they believe their children have been treated at the school.

They alleged that over the course of the last four years, pupils have coming home with unexplained injuries, including bruising and broken teeth.

An initial investigation was carried out by the council, which found no wrong-doing. However, the parents claim their complaints were not properly investigated, which prompted Dundee Child Care and Protection Committee to request a further review.