Ofsted finds ‘significant’ safeguarding concerns at specialist college

A specialist college that teaches students with autism and other complex needs has dropped two grades to ‘inadequate’ after Ofsted found “significant” safeguarding concerns.

Cambian Lufton College, based in south Somerset, received the lowest possible rating from the education watchdog today after previously receiving a grade two in July 2016.

Inspectors found that senior leaders’ actions to “maintain or improve” the quality of education have been “ineffective”, and they have not ensured that students are studying courses at the “correct level”.

Most concerning was that leaders and governors have been presiding over a culture of “ineffective” safeguarding, where they do not ensure all students “are kept safe”.

Staff have “comprehensively mismanaged” safeguarding records, according to Ofsted, and senior leaders “do not consistently respond to incidents appropriately and quickly” nor do they review incidents “thoroughly enough”.

Those caring for students with complex health needs, including epilepsy, “have not received appropriate training”, while senior leaders “do not ensure effective oversight of incidents of physical restraint”.

Senior leaders also do not review medication errors to ensure further incidents can be prevented. “When errors are made, there is a lack of follow-up discussion, training and monitoring of staff in order to minimise future risks to students,” Ofsted said.

A spokesperson for the college said it was “disappointed by the findings” as “this is not the standard that we expect”.

“We have a clear plan to address the areas where we have fallen short and return the college to its previous recognised high standards,” he added.

While safeguarding and senior leadership needs urgent improvement, Ofsted did praise Cambian Lufton College for ensuring its students make “good progress” in English, maths and information and communication technology.

Students also “enjoy their learning and the wide range of additional activities on offer to them” and they develop “useful skills to help them in their future lives, such as cooking and budgeting”.

The college currently teaches 88 students.