The School Closure Review Panels were established by virtue of section 17A of the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010.  On 30 March 2015 the Panels took over the responsibility from the Scottish Ministers of reviewing and determining education authority school closure decisions which are called in by the Scottish Ministers.

The Convener appoints persons eligible to be selected to serve as a member of a Panel for a period of up to five years and each individual is eligible for reappointment thereafter.  Currently there are ten persons eligible to be selected to serve as a member of a Panel.

Those persons eligible to be selected to serve form a pool from which the Convener is to select a Panel of three when a called-in closure decision is being referred to it.  The main statutory function of a Panel is to review a called in closure decision of an education authority and form a decision as described below.  One of the three members in a Panel is selected by the Convener to be the Chair of the Panel.  Each Panel is independent of other Panels, the Convener, the Scottish Government and any other bodies or individuals.

A particular Panel reviews the school closure decision by considering whether the authority has (i) failed significantly to comply with the requirements of the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010; and (ii) whether the authority has failed to take proper account of a material consideration relevant to the decision.  In carrying out this review, the Panel may request further information from the local authority, and advice from Education Scotland (HMIE) or “any other person as it may reasonably require for the relevant purposes”.

The Panel does not be re-take the authority’s decision or consider any aspects of the closure apart from the two considerations set out above.  It is the local authority’s right to make a school closure decision, the Panel’s role is to ensure the decision has been taken in line with the law.

The conflicts of interest schedule for persons eligible to serve as members of the Panel may be viewed here

Remuneration and Expenses

Panel members are entitled to receive a fee of £200 per day for every 7.5 devoted to performing their functions (as required) on a pro rata basis. Panel members are entitled to be reimbursed for expenses that are necessary or expedient for the proper discharge of their functions. Rates are equal to those set by the Scottish Government for its staff. This also applies to persons eligible to be selected to serve as a member of a Panel for time devoted to and expenses related to training arranged by the Convener.

Persons eligible to be selected to serve as a member of a Panel

Beverley Atkinson
Beverley AtkinsonPanel Member
Beverley is a solicitor advocate with 20 years’ experience in commercial litigation.  She is dual qualified as a solicitor in Scotland and England and Wales. She is one of only 9 solicitors accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in professional negligence law. Beverley is currently a Legal Director with DAC Beachcroft Scotland LLP specialising in professional negligence and commercial litigation. She has been a solicitor member of the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal since 2016 and was appointed a Vice Chair of the Tribunal in 2019.  She is a member of the Board of Examiners for the Law Society of Scotland and a part-time tutor at the University of Edinburgh Centre for Professional Legal Studies. She was formerly a solicitor member of the Law Society of Scotland Complaints Sub-Committee.
Sally Wainwright
Sally WainwrightPanel Member
Sally has a wide ranging career within the public and voluntary sectors. She was Course Director of the Post-Graduate Housing Course at Edinburgh College of Art. Other teaching experience included lecturing on an HNC at Glasgow College and some short courses on humanitarian topics in secondary schools as a volunteer for the British Red Cross. As Learning and Access Manager at the Scottish Museums Council she advised museums on the new opportunities offered by the introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence. Sally was also a member of the Parent Council and the School Board at her daughter’s schools. Much of her other work has been focused on public consultation and participation, most recently at Falkirk Council, where she was responsible for the participation policy, and running the Citizens Panel. She sat on the Children’s Panel for 12 years, and since 2012 has been a Housing member of the Private Rented Housing Panel / Home Owning Panel.
Justin Willey
Justin WilleyPanel Member
Justin is a director of a Scottish software company. He studied engineering at Edinburgh University and subsequently worked in finance and publishing. He has been involved in school closure consultations for over ten years through the Scottish Rural Schools Network.
Helen McGhee
Helen McGheePanel Member
Helen was a senior manager in the Children & Families Department of a large local authority prior to her retirement in 2014. She is a graduate of Edinburgh Napier University where she attained her MBA. Helen has significant expertise in capital projects for new build schools, particularly in the Public Private Partnership and Scottish Futures Trust funded initiatives. In her role she was the lead officer for home to school transport, school meals and facility management of the PPP contracts. This involved consultation with all stakeholders, including the local community, staff, pupils and politicians. Throughout her career she has been passionate about change management, service development, role development and life long learning. She has led a number of successful initiatives over the years and took the lead role in the strategic development of all Facilities Management contracts within Children & Families to ensure best value.
Catriona Waddington
Catriona WaddingtonPanel Member
Catriona is a health economist who lives in Shetland and is a non-executive director of the local NHS Board. She works as an adviser in health economics in a variety of low-income countries including Ethiopia, Malawi and Ghana. She also has a particular interest in health care for island populations, and has recently worked in Tonga and Vanuatu in the Pacific. Catriona has two school-age daughters and has been involved on the parent councils of two remote, rural schools that have been affected by closure consultations. She lives on Scotland’s northernmost island, Unst.
Dr. Charles S. Bestwick
Dr. Charles S. BestwickPanel Member
Charles is a research scientist based at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition & Health, University of Aberdeen. His academic research interests encompass human and plant biology, but currently focus on the influence of whole diets on human health. A critically important part of his professional work is that of Programme Advisor for the Food Land & People Programme, one of the two arms of the Strategic Research Programme funded by the Rural Environment Science and Analytical Services Directorate of the Scottish Government. Additional and wholly separate to his professional work, Charles is a founder and continuing member of the Scottish Rural Schools Network. He has campaigned extensively for improved school closure consultation processes; including for greater understanding of the educational, socialisation and economic issues within rural education and the role of community based education in supporting community resilience. Charles was a Scottish Government appointed member of the Commission on Delivery of Rural Education (2012-2013).
Roddy Macleod
Roddy MacleodPanel Member
Roddy MacLeod is an advocate at the Scottish Bar.  In addition to his practice in contentious succession matters, he is a standing Junior Counsel to the Office of the Advocate General and is instructed in regulatory cases.  Since 2014 Roddy has been a member of the Scottish Rugby Union Disciplinary Panel.

Roddy lives in the Scottish Borders with his wife and their three, school aged, children.