Fiona Duncan-Report into Howdenhall and St Katharine’s


The Promise Scotland is appalled by the report outlining the abuse and ill treatment of children and young people at Howdenhall and St Katharine’s residential school in Edinburgh. There is no place in Scotland for such brutality towards anyone, let alone children placed in a setting that is meant to nurture, protect and love them.

Whilst The Promise Scotland is clear that Secure Care should be used as an alternative to young offender institutions, it must not, be routinely used to house children and young people who need community based, trauma informed care and support.

As stated in 'the promise', published in February 2020, Scotland must radically and urgently reform the provision and use of Secure Care.

Secure and Residential Care must always uphold the totality of children and young people’s rights and ensure relationships are always respected, upheld and prioritised. Making this the minimum standard within every setting is vital to improving experiences and outcomes. However, it is also necessary to ensure Secure Care is only used when it is in the best interests of the child. Acting in the best interest of the child means properly listening to children, and their families, about their experiences and needs and providing services and supports that work for them.

We will read Edinburgh City Council’s action plan and engage with them to fully understand the lessons that have been learned, and expect to see all of the changes realised. We would encourage other local authorities, Secure Care and Residential settings to read the action plan to ensure that lessons can be learned across Scotland.