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Concerns at Cornish Residential School

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 10:55am 5th December 2013 (Updated 11:40am 5th December 2013)

A Cornish unit for children with disabilities and communication problems is warned of significant failures to ensure their safety.

Inspectors have told Pencalenick Residential School near Truro some sanctions used at its boarding unit were "inappropriate."

This was after an unannounced visit by Ofsted to the site which looks after 27 children up to four nights a week.

Among the things found in September was a seclusion room where the 11-16 year olds were sent when they are badly behaved and then not allowed to leave till they have calmed down.

Ofsted called it "inappropriate", "demeaning" and warned it risked causing the children harm.

Despite some pupils praising staff as "kind" the unit has been branded "inadequate" and told to make urgent changes.

In their report inspectors wrote: "Residential pupils enjoy their time at the provision and state they ‘would attend every day of the week if they could’. Residential pupils have made friends at the school. They feel relaxed and safe at the residential provision. Residential pupils have developed good relationships with the people around them.

"Their behaviour is generally very good during residential time. Significant incidents of challenging behaviour are infrequent and residential pupils demonstrate that they are able to interact positively with each other as well as being polite and courteous to the adults around them."

But they warned: "Some sanctions used are excessive and restrict the residential pupils’ liberty. On occasion, residential pupils are sent to a seclusion room and are not allowed to leave until they are compliant, while staff monitor through a window from outside a closed door.

"This seclusion has no therapeutic value and is an inappropriate behaviour management strategy. It is demeaning to the residential pupils and may also cause them distress and further harm."

You can read the full report below:

Pencalenick Ofsted Report (pdf)

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