A special school near Truro is “inadequate” according to the latest report from education watchdog Ofsted.
The report said national safety measures were not met at Pencalenick School and “serious allegations of a child protection nature were being investigated”.
Pencalenick is an academy for 110 children from 11 to 16 years old who have complex communication and learning disabilities, including autism. Boarding facilities house 27 children from Monday to Thursday.
The headteacher of Pencalenick, Andy Barnett, refused to respond to inquires from the West Briton regarding the damning report.
The Ofsted report stated: “The overall effectiveness of the school’s residential provision is inadequate. There are serious shortfalls in the safeguarding of residential pupils and in the way that the residential environment is organised and managed.”
The report was based on an unannounced visit from Ofsted inspectors over three days beginning on September 17.
The report stated: “The residential provision fails to meet the national minimum standards covering safety. As a result of this, residential pupils’ welfare and safety is not adequately safeguarded and they could be at risk of harm.”
The report said not enough had been done “to ensure appropriate separation or protection between residential pupils”.
It said: “There are no risk assessments in place to offer appropriate protection for residential pupils sharing the same landing, bedrooms and shower facilities. Furthermore, the practice and routines are not organised in a way that separates or protects residential pupils.”
The report also noted personal medical and dietary information about residential pupils was “on display for all to see”.
Ofsted inspectors were aware during the inspection that “serious allegations of a child protection nature were being investigated by the appropriate authorities”.
Ofsted does not have the power to investigate allegations of this kind.
The report said: “The school has not followed the correct reporting procedures in response to a safeguarding allegation. This has potentially resulted in the investigating professionals not being able to gain full information about the event.”
The school was deemed to be inadequate in terms of overall effectiveness, quality of residential provision and care, residential pupils’ safety and leadership and management of the residential provision.
The school was judged adequate for outcomes for residential pupils.
The report stated: “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.”
The West Briton made repeated attempts to contact the school but did not receive any response.Residential pupils are instructed to spend time in a seclusion room until they are compliant. This breaches best practice guidelines.