Ofsted inspectors have raised the alarm over the safety of learners at a Wakefield SEND college following a full inspection and multiple follow-up monitoring visits.
Following Camphill Wakefield’s full inspection in March 2022, Ofsted inspectors found the specialist college was inadequate overall for its SEND provision, leadership and management, and the quality of education.
Inspectors have since conducted three monitoring visits, the most recent was an unannounced monitoring visit focused on safeguarding on April 26 and 27, which found the college had made insufficient provisions to keep learners safe, particularly during trips outside of the campus.
Lead inspector Jacquie Brown said in her report that while staff complete generic risk assessments for off-site visits, they do not consider individual learners’ needs of health, care and behaviour support needs.
“As a result, they cannot guarantee that learners are safe in these situations,” she said.
Camphill Wakefield offers residential and day provision for learners aged between 16 and 25. The college had 66 learners enrolled as of its last inspection last March.
James Heaton-Jennings, CEO of Camphill Wakefield, told FE Week that the safety of students is its “first priority” and the college “immediately addressed” concerns as soon as inspectors identified key risks.
“This included reconfiguring our safeguarding team with additional members of the SLT. We then triangulated our actions by inviting our host local authority to review our progress, which lead to a positive report,” he said.
Inspectors also found that managers failed to guarantee that information about learners’ allergies is correct, finding some potentially inaccurate information in documents used by staff. The report said that the college has undertaken a full review to address the issue.
Brown added that the college was aware that the residential care staff were not recording safeguarding concerns on online systems consistently, which meant education staff would not always have information on safeguarding concerns that occur in the residential settings.
Camphill Wakefield has recently hired a new head of care, who is currently revising the culture and reporting procedures in residential accommodation.
“However, it is too soon to see the full impact of their actions,” the report added.
Two subcontractors work on the 56-acre campus: Stride Theatre Group and Riding for the Disabled, who deliver programmes on the college site. The college also has a working farm and gardens with greenhouses.
The report that that college leaders “work well” with external health and safety specialists and staff in the farm areas and horse-riding school supervise learners in these areas closely.
Camphill also reviewed their care plans for learners with epilepsy and staff have recently undergone epilepsy training.
The report found most staff have completed mandatory training in safeguarding and the Prevent duty and a number of members have been identified as needing additional safeguarding training, such as the administration of medication.
Heaton-Jennings confirmed that 86 per cent of staff have completed the additional level 3 qualification in principles of safeguarding children, young people and adults.
“Like many colleges, we have experienced disruption and uncertainty over the past few years, but we are very proud of the way in which the staff team have stepped up to rebuild a fantastic resource for our young people,” he concluded.
The two previous monitoring visits found reasonable progress was being made to the quality of teaching given to learners. However, the first visit found learners were not receiving good enough feedback to improve on, and the second visit said that parents and carers were not receiving “appropriate updates” on the progress of learners.
“Too often these staff are occupied with other tasks and are not able to make the calls as often as they should,” the report said.
In 2020, the college won a Natspec award for pathways to employment, where judges praised the college for having an “aspirational” pathway into employment embedded into the curriculum.