Doncaster children's homes at centre of abuse allegations will not reopen

Two children’s homes in Doncaster under investigation for allegations of abuse will formally shut down following talks with Ofsted.

Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 9:09 am
Fullerton House Children's Home School was closed in March and will permanently shut

Fullerton House School Children’s Home in Denaby and Wilsic Hall School Children’s Home near Wadworth are both under the spotlight of South Yorkshire Police and Doncaster Council following the launch of a multi-agency investigation set to cost £3 million.

Both homes are operated by the Hesley Group, which has its headquarters at Hesley Hall near Doncaster.

A source connected to the home said staff had received a letter stating that the homes would not be reopening and stated that ‘investors had pulled funding’.

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In a letter sent to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Hesley Group bosses said that suspension of operations at both homes would continue until the investigation is complete, which is expected to conclude sometime into 2023.

But bosses, in a letter to staff, said: “From recent communications with Ofsted, we believe that the suspension notices will remain in place at both homes while this investigation is ongoing.

“We have been working hard to address the concerns raised by Ofsted in the hope of reopening both homes in the near future. However, in light of Ofsted’s latest communication, we have made the difficult decision to de-register both homes. We have written to Ofsted to inform them and they have accepted.

“While this is not the outcome we have been working towards, we believe that it is best for us to make this decision now, so that we are able to focus our attention and energy on our homes that are open. We appreciate this is disappointing news for many of us to hear.”

Councillor Rachael Blake, previously said that the £3 million sum will enable partners to fully investigate the allegations to ‘ensure the voices of children, young people and young adults are heard’.

The council has ruled the allegations passed the threshold to instigate a ‘Complex Abuse Investigation’ (CAI).

This means the allegations raised show organised or multiple instances of abuse involving one or more abusers and a number of children.

The alleged abusers concerned also may be acting in concert to abuse a child or children, or may be acting in isolation.

One or more of the adults involved may be using an institutional framework or position of authority to recruit children for abuse.

The estimate is based on the current monthly cost of £110,000, which funds a ‘specialist experienced dedicated team’ including eight social workers, team manager, lead senior manager, head of service and administrative/business support, with an allocation for contingency to retain flexibility in carrying out the in-depth investigation.