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Hamilton School closure: Legal action threat

Mike Russell: 'Far and away' the worst report he had come across. Picture: TSPL

Mike Russell: 'Far and away' the worst report he had come across. Picture: TSPL

  • by ALAN SHIELDS
 

FURIOUS parents are considering legal action against a private school that was shut down due to serious concerns about childcare, it emerged yesterday.

The Hamilton School in Aberdeen was closed suddenly by government ministers after an investigation by Scotland’s care watchdog and police.

An adjoining nursery closed 24 hours later, following a scathing Care Inspectorate report.

Yesterday, legal firm Balfour and Manson confirmed several parents with children at the school had been in touch with concerns about the care their children received.

The school was put into liquidation at the start of the week, with parents told it “does not look favourable” that fees paid in advance would be returned.

A spokesman for Balfour and Manson said: “We are aware of the huge impact the closure of the Hamilton School has had on the families and staff involved.

“We have been consulted by some of the families who have been affected and we are advising them about how to move forward from here and the possible legal remedies available.

“We will be liaising with the procurator fiscal and the liquidator as their investigations proceed. There is considerable concern about whether any children have received inadequate care.

“At the same time, families are faced with the task of having to make new arrangements for the care and education of their children with lengthy waiting lists for places.

“There are also the financial worries – many parents have paid out large sums for fees.”

Police launched an investigation at the school and nursery after an anonymous blog about the facility was published earlier this year.

The blogger posted a series of allegations about the nursery online.

A joint police and Care Inspectorate investigation was then launched.

Kathlyn Taylor, 65, the owner and principal of the school, and a 25-year-old female employee were charged with alleged criminal offences against children on 6 February.

Scottish ministers shut the school down after an inspection uncovered serious health and safety risks during two lessons.

Inspectors also had to refer three child protection cases to police.

The nursery was shut down by the owners after a report from the Care Inspectorate.

Education secretary Mike Russell called the report “far and away” the worst he had ever come across.

The children who attended the school were moved to a mothballed premises which was reopened by Aberdeen City Council.

At the time of closure, the school had 105 pupils and the nursery 225 children. A total of 78 of the 84 staff were made redundant, the school later announced.

The family-run school catered for children between the ages of three months and 12 years and is based in the west end of the city.

It was founded by Ms Taylor in 1975 and is Scotland’s only privately-owned day school.

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