Iain Nisbet, the Convener of the School Closure Review Panels, has published his eighth annual report.

The Convener has submitted the report to the Scottish Ministers in line with the requirements of the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 (“the 2010 Act”). The report covers the exercise of the Convener’s functions during the year 2022 and the exercise of the functions of any School Closure Review Panel which has carried out a review under the 2010 Act in that year.

Introducing the report, Mr Nisbet said:

“I am pleased to present my eighth annual report as Convener of the School Closure Review Panels.

While there were no school closure decisions called in by Scottish Ministers for review in 2022, it remains necessary for me to retain the capacity to convene a panel at short notice in the event that this is required. To maintain that state of readiness, much work continues behind the scenes, including ongoing training for School Closure Review Panel members.

A training event took place in Edinburgh in May 2022, which served as an opportunity for newly appointed members to hear from other members who had chaired or sat on Panels. It also allowed us to discuss and finalise the internal guidance for Panel Members. The training was well attended, and participation never less than fulsome. I am extremely fortunate to have such a dedicated and talented pool of persons eligible to be Panel Members, who remain engaged and committed to the process of school closure review.

As I am now approaching the end of my period in office, this will be my last annual report. It does not seem like eight years ago I took up the post, and I will be sorry to see this chapter of my professional life close. I am tremendously proud of how the panels have conducted their reviews and in the quality of their decision making. I recall that when I was being interviewed for the role, I said that I wanted to see the School Closure Review
Panels firmly established as a trusted and effective part of the schools and education framework in Scotland, and I think I am safe in saying that this ambition has been achieved.

Of course, that is mainly down to the hard work of others, as my own role is one step removed from the actual business of considering and reviewing school closure proposals. I would therefore like to take one last opportunity to thank all the panel members, past and present, for their interest and enthusiasm, particularly over periods when there have been no referrals to offer them! I would also like to thank the staff of the Scottish
Arbitration Centre, who have provided invaluable administrative support to both the panels and myself over the years – and especially to Andrew Mackenzie, the Chief Executive who has been involved in the panels since their inception and whose support and counsel has been greatly appreciated.”

The full report can be found here.