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Shropshire college told to act on serious safety fears

By Aimee Jones | Gobowen | Education | Published:

A specialist Shropshire college for adults with learning disabilities has been told it must improve after government inspectors highlighted a number of serious safety concerns.

Derwen College

In one building people had unrestricted and open access to the mains electricity fuse box and wiring "putting people at risk of electrocution", while exposed hot water pipes in bathrooms and communal areas "put people at risk of burns".

Derwen College, in Gobowen, near Oswestry, was visited unannounced by three inspectors and two assistant inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on May 16.

The college was given a 'requires improvement' rating - having previously been rated 'good' in 2016 and 2014.

In full:

The subsequent report revealed that the students were not always safe and did not always feel well-supported or cared for.

However, the college was rated 'good' in two areas - effectiveness and responsiveness.

The report said: "Risks to people's safety were assessed, however we identified a number of areas where more robust risk management was required.

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"Although a refurbishment plan was in place for the bungalows we did not see evidence that the area's awaiting refurbishment had been adequately risk assessed to ensure people's safety in the interim period.

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"For example, we saw people had unrestricted and open access to the mains electricity fuse box and wiring in one building putting people at risk of electrocution. We saw hot water pipes were exposed in bathrooms and communal areas putting people at risk of burns."

The report does add that the feedback was taken on board and the college took action to address the areas of risk identified by the inspectors.

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While some students said they enjoyed life at Derwen College, others suggested there were some improvements needed in to how they were spoken to.

The report said: "We met with a group of people and one person told us, 'I would like to be spoken to like an adult. I don't like it if staff speak to me like a child'. Several other people in the room told us that they agreed with what was said."

It also noted that the management and leadership was not always consistent, but staff told inspectors that a number of improvements had been made over the last 12 months.

The college has now been asked to send a report to the CQC that sets out what action it is going to take to address the concerns.

Meryl Green, college principal, said: “We have taken on board the comments made by the inspectors and immediately following the inspection in May started the process to address the points raised. Many have already been completed and we have a clear and thorough plan to action the remaining points. We look forward to the inspectors returning so that we can demonstrate the work we have done."

She said the college is striving to improve and has made improvements.

Mrs Green added: “Staff have worked extremely hard to make significant improvements over the last few years and the very positive comments in the inspection report are a testament to their dedication and commitment. Our students are brilliantly supported and developed throughout their time at college, and this is down to the teams of professionals who make it happen 24/7.

"At Derwen College, we make sure that every moment matters for every student. Some of this is reflected in this report, and we will continue our work to ensure it is fully reflected in the next one. We are always striving to improve further, and this will be ongoing.”

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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