Residential school in Dunkeld enters administration

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The New School ButterstoneImage source, The New School

A residential school for children with significant additional support needs has officially entered administration.

The New School Butterstone in Dunkeld, Perthshire, closed last month after facing financial difficulties.

It ceased operating on 23 November, with all 24 students leaving and its 51 teachers and members of staff put on notice of redundancy.

Administrators from FRP Advisory are now trying to sell the assets of the company and recover outstanding debts.

The New School Butterstone was an independent residential school but some councils paid for places for children.

Last month, parents received a letter from the school saying it had been issued with an improvement notice from the Care Inspectorate (CI).

'Greatly saddened'

In a statement, the governors of the New School said: "We are greatly saddened at the winding up of the school, and the termination of its 25-year contribution to the care and development of young people with significant additional learning needs.

"We retain full confidence in the staff and in the school's record of caring for the pupils in its charge throughout its history."

The governors said the decision to close the school was made after the CI improvement notice and a decision by Cumberland-based Witherslack Group (WG) to withdraw from a "longer-term business transfer agreement".

Pupil safety

They added: "It was made clear by the CI that, in the aftermath of the WG withdrawal, it considered the safety of the children to be at risk.

"As a result, the governors determined that it would not be possible to guarantee the safety of the pupils, as required by the CI, without more time and significant additional investment.

"We therefore reached the decision that the school should be closed prior to the withdrawal of Witherslack on 23 November."

Joint administrator Tom MacLennan, from FRP Advisory, said: "With the school no longer operating, the financial position of the company has left the directors with no option but to enter into administration.

"We are now focused on selling the assets of the company and recovering outstanding debts, and will work closely with all agencies, including the Redundancy Payments Office, to ensure that employees receive every support at this difficult time."

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