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Council bosses forced to apologise to primary school pupil following ombudsmen’s ruling

Aberdeenshire Council's HQ.
Aberdeenshire Council's HQ.

Aberdeenshire Council has been criticised for ignoring a letter from a pupil outlining safety concerns – and a request to move classes.

The family complained to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman after the authority failed to respond the letter, which was prompted by a “worrying” playground incident.

The youngster wrote to the council asking to be moved to a different class, and outlined concerns about needing to feel safe in returning to school.

A report by the SPSO found the letter had gone unacknowledged, which “would have heightened the family’s anxiety” and ruled there was a “clear failure” to involve the child in the decision-making process.

The report says: “Contrary to GIRFEC principles (Getting it Right for Every Child – the nationwide policy which puts the child at the centre of decision-making and ensures their views are heard), there was a clear failure to involve the child, or take account of their clearly stated views about what had happened to them.”

The report notes that SPSO officers took independent advice from a social worker in relation to the council’s handling of matters, who advised a single point of contact should have been appointed for Mrs C and her family to ensure “clearer communication and management of expectations”.

The SPSO ordered the authority to apologise.

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