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Shrewsbury children's home closes after licence is suspended

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

A private children's home near Shrewsbury, which is linked to a troubled school which specialises in teaching boys with severe behavioural problems and autism, has closed with immediate effect.

The home is affiliated to Cruckton Hall School, pictured. Photo: Google StreetView

Cruckton Hall Children's Home has had its registration temporarily suspended by Government inspectors.

The home is affiliated to Cruckton Hall School, which has had a number of visits from Ofsted inspectors who reported that teaching at the school did not sufficiently meet the needs of the pupils.

In 2015, inspectors found that pupils would turn up for classes armed with weapons including knives, sticks and a BB gun.

Three quarters of the staff at the school also told inspectors they did not feel young people there were safe.

The children's home and school looked after more than 30 boys aged eight to 19, and annual fees for day pupils were £90,143.

All pupils have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and associated conditions.

Although the school was judged to be good at an inspection in May 2017, by last October inspectors felt it 'did not meet all of the independent school standards'.

In December, Catherine Fletcher, registered manager at the school, wrote to parents after an interim care inspection, which took place on November 29, deemed that the school 'declined in effectiveness'.

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Managers challenged the decision.

A parent of pupil who boarded at the children's home was told on Thursday that it was closing immediately and that his son, and his belongings, had to be collected on Friday.

Management

He said: "There have been problems here for quite a while. The management is really poor and they do not have good systems in place. Safeguarding has been flagged up by the local police and also by previous Ofsted authorities.

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"The school is being paid big fees to provide education and services for the kids, for example Occupational Therapists, psychology and anger management and there is evidence these were not being administered. As a result the kids are not getting a rounded education and getting their needs served. Then when something goes wrong they get penalised and it isn't their fault.

"For example, if a child is sent to a school because he has anger management issues and part of his educational remit is he is meant to receive treatment and help with anger management and he doesn't get it, whose fault is it? The problem you have is that no one takes control and no one takes responsibility."

A spokesman for Cruckton Hall School said: "The safety of our pupils is paramount. We are committed to delivering high quality care and education and providing a safe environment for the children we work with.

“Ofsted has temporarily suspended the registration of the children’s home that operates on the school site. The school itself continues to operate as normal and is not affected by this decision.

“Our primary focus at this time is to ensure all of the young people at the children’s home are properly supported and cared for. We are working closely with parents, local authorities and social workers so that our young people are temporarily moved to the most appropriate alternative accommodation while the suspension is in place.

“We are also liaising closely with Ofsted to address the issues raised as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. We are committed to continuing to provide a high quality, safe learning and care environment for the children and young people we work with, so that they can have the support they need to lead happy and fulfilling lives.”

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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