AN independent inquiry will be launched into how Scottish Borders Council (SBC) dealt with concerns raised about a teacher who was later found guilty of assaulting children.
The council’s chief executive, Netta Meadows, today (May 27) announced the decision to instigate the investigation.
Linda McCall, 60, was found guilty of five charges of assaulting five pupils aged between five and seven years old, and one charge of threatening or abusive behaviour.
During the full council meeting today, Ms Meadows issued a statement to elected members.
She said: “As you are aware, a former employee of SBC has been found guilty of a number of criminal offences committed within a school setting.
“The welfare and safety of our young people is at the very heart of everything that we do. Therefore, as Head of Paid Service, I feel it is important to fully understand what has occurred.
“Following discussions with the Leader and the Convener, I am therefore instigating an independent Inquiry into how the Council dealt with the concerns which were raised.
“This process will firstly require us to identify a suitable individual to carry out the work.
“I will bring a report to Council in June which will provide details on the scope of the investigation together with an expected timescale for its conclusion.
“Separately to this, I am seeking an independent review of the provision of education and of the practices followed at our complex needs settings.
“I have asked the Service Director for Young People, Engagement and Inclusion to engage with Education Scotland to scope this review. My report in June will also provide an update on this review.
“I know that it is important to all of us that both of these matters are comprehensively considered. As I have said, the welfare and safety of our children and young people is paramount.”
After McCall, from Earlston, was found guilty of assaulting children, angry parents accused the council of sweeping their original complaints under the carpet.
The parents criticised the council’s internal investigation.
Earlier this month, Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame, of the SNP, said blame lies “at the door” of the council.