Doncaster children's home closed over 'abuse' probe failed to meet safety standards, report reveals

A Doncaster school children’s home which was shut down over allegations of abuse against severely disabled children failed to meet safety standards, a report has said.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 1:17 pm
Fullerton House Children's Home School was closed in March.

Fullerton House School in Denaby was closed by Government inspectors earlier this year following an emergency inspection which also saw police brought in to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect at the school as well as similar allegations about Wilsic Hall School near Tickhill.

Both of the homes are run by the Hesley Group.

Now an Ofsted report into Fullerton House has said the school did not meet all of the independent school safety standards required when inspectors made an unannounced and emergency inspection in March.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It said measures and routines within the school to ensure pupils’ safety were not being met.

A report said: “The school does not meet the following independent school standards” and added that rules around welfare, health and safety of pupils were not being met.

It added: “The standard is met if the proprietor ensures that arrangements are made to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils at the school.

“The standard about the quality of leadership and management is met if the proprietor ensures that persons with leadership and management responsibilities at the school demonstrate good skills and knowledge appropriate to their role so that the independent school standards are met consistently, fulfil their responsibilities effectively so that the independent school standards are met consistently and actively promote the well-being of pupils.

It added: “School staff have positive relationships with pupils. They know the pupils well and are skilled at helping pupils to communicate any worries that they may have. Because of this, staff can contribute significantly to pupils’ welfare.

"However, staff do not always document pupils’ concerns fully or consistently. Also, there are several different information management systems in the school. This means that senior leaders cannot access information quickly or monitor pupils’ welfare effectively. There are sometimes gaps in the reports on pupils’ welfare that are provided to the education board.

"The proprietor plans to introduce a new management information system. The proprietor believes this will improve the quality of communication about pupils’ welfare. At present, however, the proprietor is not able to monitor pupils’ welfare fully. These standards are not met.”

One said: “In the training, you are told the gates are not to keep the young people in – it is to keep the public out – damn right.”

Another said: “We saw some awful things while there. None of us were sleeping at night worrying about the children that we had to leave every day.”

In the spring, a damning report by education watchdog Ofsted into standards at Fullerton House said: "Some children have suffered actual physical harm, either through alleged deliberate acts or through neglect of care.

“Not all children are safe in this home.

“Serious allegations have been made from within the service that staff have acted to deliberately harm children.”

Fullerton House offers care and accommodation for up to 37 people in 16 separate houses and at the time of the inspection in March, there were 26 children and young people living there.

The emergency inspection was triggered by safeguarding concerns and was the second emergency inspection since the school’s last standard inspection in March 2018.