‘Serious and widespread failures’ mean children attending a special education school in Bexhill are not protected, according to the education watchdog Ofsted.
In a report published on Tuesday (November 27), St Mary’s School and College, in Wrestwood Road, Bexhill, was told its ‘care of children and young people were poor’.
From October 30 to November 1, the school’s residential provision was inspected and found to be ‘inadequate’ in three areas: the overall experiences and progress of children and young people; how well children and young people are helped and protected; and the effectiveness of leaders and managers.
In its report, Ofsted said: “There are widespread and significant failings in how the school ensures that the residential students’ welfare is properly safeguarded and promoted.
“Previous senior leaders have admitted residential students to the school without thorough consideration of the school’s ability to meet these students’ needs.
“There are serious and widespread failures that mean children and young people are not protected or their welfare is not promoted or safeguarded and the care and experiences of children and young people are poor.”
The school’s board of governors said they were ‘deeply disappointed’ with the Ofsted inspectors’ findings.
A statement issued on their behalf added: “We are co-operating fully with the inspectors and are totally committed to ensuring that all concerned act on the recommendations for improvement.”
St Mary’s said senior management have put an action plan in place which would be monitored ‘closely’.
The board of governors added: “Everything is being done to bring about the desired changes with the utmost urgency.
“The governing board remains determined to do all in its power to secure the very best for our pupils, teachers and staff who are our number one priority.”
Ofsted’s report did praise members of St Mary’s staff for being ‘caring and nurturing’ towards the residential students they care for.
The report said residential students were encouraged to develop independence skills through the completion of daily chores.
Staff were also praised for maintaining regular contact with families.
The school’s board of governors added: “On a positive note, we were pleased that the inspectors noted that staff are caring and nurturing towards students, that residential students are encouraged to develop independence skills, and that staff maintain regular contact with families to ensure they are involved in every aspect of each student’s education and care.”
St Mary’s School and College currently caters for both residential and day pupils aged seven to 19.
It offers education and integrated support to those who may have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, speech, language, communication and additional needs.