Third poorly rated children’s home in 10 weeks prompts fresh questions over provision

Suffolk County councillor Jack Abbotthas called on more to be done to ensure children's homes were n

Suffolk County councillor Jack Abbotthas called on more to be done to ensure children's homes were not getting poor Ofsted ratings Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Fears have been raised that Suffolk may have a systemic problem with how children’s homes are run after a third establishment was given a poor Ofsted rating in the last 10 weeks.

A report published by the education watchdog revealed a privately-run home catering for boys with moderate-to-severe learning difficulties had been given an ‘inadequate’ rating last month.

It comes just weeks after two homes run by Suffolk County Council were given poor inspection reports.

Councillor Jack Abbott, Suffolk County Council’s Labour education spokesman said: “It is incredibly depressing to keep reading reports of this nature on an almost monthly basis.

“Once again, another of Suffolk’s children’s homes has been rated ‘inadequate’ with the safeguarding of children cited as part of ‘serious and widespread failures’.

“The reliance on agency staff is really concerning – these children need stability and continuity and this clearly cannot happen whilst high staff turnover persists and training levels remain unknown.

“I’ve said it on countless occasions now but the most vulnerable children in our county are being ignored and neglected, yet I feel there is little appetite to even acknowledge the fundamental issues at play.

“How many more reports of this nature do there have to be before those in power recognise we have systemic problem in Suffolk and act decisively? This cannot keep happening.”

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A spokesman from the private provider given the ‘inadequate’, whose home cannot be named for legal reasons, said it was working on the points raised in Ofsted’s report and was confident it would be up to the required standard soon.

Cliff James, head of corporate parenting at Suffolk County Council said: “We take the Ofsted inspections very seriously and have made significant improvements to our two homes where issues were identified.

“Recent monitoring visits indicate that good progress is being made with significant improvements being cited by inspectors.”

A spokesman from the Department for Education said it was working alongside the county council’s education team to ensure facilities were of the required standard.

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