PARENTS of a child who was assaulted at a West Dunbartonshire school have hit out at the council for 'failing to support the youngster' after the incident.

A report outlining the case was published by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) recently.

It states that the child was assaulted at school by other pupils.

Following the incident, the youngster’s parents complained that West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) “failed to protect their child, failed to provide appropriate first aid, and failed to provide a reasonable level of support to them”.

It goes on to add that the pupil’s parents also complained that the local authority “failed to safeguard [their child] from the bullying they subsequently experienced”.

In response, WDC is said to have provided details of the first aid provided and the steps taken to notify the parents of what had happened.

The report states: “They [WDC] said that the school had introduced a number of measures to help keep the child safe after the incident.

“The council initially said that [the child’s parent who made the complaint] had refused to take part in restorative meetings, which they considered would have helped to resolve matters.

“After the [parent] complained about the council’s response, the council conceded that the parent had not been invited to a restorative meeting and apologised for this inaccurate information in their response.”

The SPSO reviewed the council’s actions with reference to the relevant council policies.

It found that the assault had been taken seriously and acted upon swiftly.

However, it felt that even though the council endeavoured to put in place a number of arrangements aimed at keeping the child safe, “these did not appear to have been fully implemented”.

The SPSO also found that “certain aspects of the council’s policies were not followed, the council acknowledged that no restorative meetings took place, and that counselling was not available to the child”.

The report concludes that WDC “failed to ensure the child was sufficiently supported after the incident and also found shortcomings in the council’s complaints handling” therefore the complaint was upheld.

Following this decision the SPSO asked WDC to apologise to the family over the inaccurate information provided in its response to their initial complaints with an acknowledgement of the impact this had on them.

It recommended that WDC “consider creating a structured procedure and guidance for dealing with serious unacceptable behaviour and ensuring that the parties receive a full suite of support if required”.

A council spokesperson said: “We take all instances of violence against our pupils extremely seriously and apologise that our response on this occasion fell short of what was expected.

“We have taken on board the recommendations from the ombudsman and have put processes in place to ensure this does not happen again.”