5th Jul, 2022

Coventry school and children's home set to close after 'special measures' and safety fears

Felix Nobes 6th Sep, 2018 Updated: 6th Sep, 2018

A COVENTRY school and children’s home run by a charity for the blind is set to close after it was placed in ‘special measures’.

The decision followed an earlier inquiry and various inspections into allegations of ‘abuse’ and ‘severe safeguarding issues’.

As we reported, RNIB Pears Centre on Wheelwright Lane, run by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), was facing having its licence withdrawn in April if improvements were not achieved.

RNIB Pears Centre is made up of RNIB Pears School and RNIB Pears children’s home and both will close on November 7.

The school and the home were branded ‘inadequate’ by watchdogs Ofted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) respectively.

The latest Ofsted inspection into the school published last month found leaders and managers had not taken ‘effective action’ towards the removal of ‘special measures’.

A total of 24 students aged between four and 19 are taught at the school, and 16 are residents at the children’s home.

The latest Ofsted inspection revealed ‘unacceptable’ risks of harm and outlined several safeguarding concerns.

And a CQC report on the children’s home in May revealed serious safeguarding issues with a failure to identify risks to those in care, and inadequate training for staff.

Eleanor Southwood, chair of RNIB, said: “I am sharing the news that we have made the difficult decision to close RNIB Pears Centre for Specialist Learning in Coventry, Warwickshire.

“As you may be aware, earlier this year one of our regulating bodies Ofsted raised significant concerns about the way we were managing the centre.

“We have worked really hard to turn the service around but unfortunately, we have not been able to satisfy them that we have made adequate progress.”

In March, the Charity Commission launched an independent inquiry into the charity which runs the centre.

It found the centre “consistently failed to comply with regulations designed to safeguard and protect vulnerable children.”

The centre’s failures have been attributed largely to the RNIB Charity – a subsidiary charity of the RNIB.

Ms Southwood continued: “We’ve worked hard to put things right but we accept that we’re not the right organisation to be running this highly specialised service for children and young people with complex health needs.

“We’re committed to doing everything we can to make sure the children get the support they need to move to their new homes and schools.

“We have a dedicated team in place to help the transition process run as smoothly as possible.”

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