Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry to resume hearings, taking evidence on boarding schools

Lady Smith, Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) has announced that evidential hearings for phase 6 of SCAI’s work will start on Tuesday 16 March 2021. This phase will examine the abuse of children in boarding schools. This phase was originally scheduled to start in the second half of January 2021 but was postponed because of the renewed COVID-19 lockdown. For the phase 6 hearings, SCAI will be based at its headquarters at Rosebery House in Edinburgh and will hear from witnesses both in person and remotely by video link.

The first part of this phase will involve evidence from representatives of inspection and regulatory bodies as well as representatives of individual boarding schools. The boarding schools previously listed by SCAI as under investigation are:   

  • Fettes College, Edinburgh
  • Gordonstoun School, Elgin
  • Keil School, Dumbarton
  • Loretto School, Musselburgh
  • Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
  • Morrison’s Academy, Crieff (during the time it was a boarding school)
  • Queen Victoria School, Dunblane

This first part is expected to conclude in early April 2021. SCAI is likely to then hear evidence from former pupils. At the time when the phase 6 hearings were due to start in the second half of January 2021, SCAI indicated that this phase of evidence would likely last until May 2021. This suggests that the re-arranged phase 6 hearings will run into summer 2021.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, members of the public will not be permitted to attend at least the first part of the phase 6 hearings however SCAI’s practice of publishing full transcripts of each day of evidence will continue.

Frank Hughes, Partner at BLM
Fiona McEwan, Associate at BLM

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