Disgraced social worker headed Kingspark abuse inquiry April 19 2016
Parents of former pupils at Kingspark School for disabled children claimed that Brian Stevenson “swept their concerns under the carpet” at the time of the investigation in 2013.
Last week Mr Stevenson was struck off in connection with failings unrelated and separate to the Kingspark inquiry.
He was said to have left 15 vulnerable children open to sexual and physical abuse between 2011 and 2013 by omitting details of abuse allegations from reports.
Mr Stevenson, who has since been sacked by Dundee City Council, also “failed to act” when presented with information “of very significant importance to the welfare of children.”
Former Kingspark parents have now told of “similar experiences” in their dealings with the disgraced resource manager.
Beth Morrison, whose son Callum came home with unexplained injuries in 2010, said: “I’m not surprised to hear of these failings.
“Even though these were cases totally separate from the Kingspark investigation, the pattern of behaviour was very similar to what we experienced.
“Our concerns were not taken seriously and I had to fight hard to have Callum’s case included in the investigation, even though I had tons of evidence.”
Another parent, Claire Thould, who raised concerns about her daughter coming home with bruises and scratches, claimed that Mr Stevenson did not take notes during any of the meetings.
She added: “He was very intimidating and just didn’t want to know about our concerns.
“It didn’t feel like my complaint was taken seriously and there was no feedback.
“It was like he wanted us to say our bit and leave it at that, there was no sense of there being an intention to take it further.
“It felt like he was trying to sweep it all under the carpet.”
The investigation found that there was no cause for concern regarding pupil safety and an independent review found that Dundee City Council acted “correctly and promptly” in response to the allegations.
In regards to Mr Stevenson, a local authority spokesman said: “This individual is no longer employed by Dundee City Council.
“The council will be studying the details of the findings from the Scottish Social Services Council. TheCourier
Call to ban ‘cruel’ pupil restraint at Scots schools CHRIS MARSHALL Sat 17 Jan 2015
A review of Kingspark School, Dundee, was carried out last year
PARENTS are calling for an overhaul of the use of restraint in special schools amid a police investigation into the alleged abuse of children with learning difficulties.
More than 2,000 people have signed a Scottish Parliament petition calling for changes to the way special needs children are managed.
It comes as police carry out an investigation into alleged physical and sexual abuse at Kingspark School in Dundee, which parents say the authorities attempted to cover up.
Police are looking into a series of allegations dating from 2010 after the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) last year ruled that officers had failed to investigate properly when concerns were first raised by a parent about the treatment of her 12-year-old son.
The boy, who has learning difficulties, returned home from school with bruising to his arms and blood spots on his chest consistent with haemorrhaging caused by being restrained.
The allegations have led to calls for national guidance to be introduced on the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. Petitioners want the Scottish Government to ban the use of restraint deemed “cruel, humiliating and painful” and want the practice to be used only as a “last resort”.
They also want regular training for staff in how to avoid the use of restraint and for teachers and support workers to be made accountable by recording every incident which leads to a child being restrained.
In a separate development, a number of families with children who attended Kingspark have instructed a solicitor to act on their behalf.
One mother said: “I have fought for four years to get justice for my son. This isn’t about compensation, it isn’t about money – it’s about what’s right. Parents weren’t being interviewed [about what was happening at the school] by the police, none of the kids were being interviewed. It was just a complete mess. The last thing the school and the city council wanted was an abuse scandal. They did everything to keep a lid on it. They managed the parents into silence – it looks like a cover-up.”
A police spokeswoman said: “Police Scotland initiated an investigation into the circumstances surrounding injuries sustained by a pupil at Kings-park School in 2010 following a recommendation from the PIRC earlier this year. In addition, we have reviewed the police response to a number of concerns raised during 2013 and will undertake some further inquiry as a result of our review.”
Dundee City Council spokesman said: “The council is co-operating fully with an ongoing police investigation and will be making no further comment until that has been completed.”
Last year a review of concerns about Kingspark carried out by Alastair Marquis, an independent education consultant, called on the school to review how it manages pupils with “challenging behaviour”.
The report said greater emphasis should be put on promoting positive behaviour, with restraining techniques only to be used as a “very last resort” TheScotsman