Boy barricaded himself in at night, says damning report on Shrewsbury children's home

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

A boy living at a children’s home in the Shrewsbury area felt so unsafe at night that he slept with his mattress pressed against his door, an Ofsted report has revealed.

Ofsted’s social care inspector Julia Wright found the home was dirty with broken furniture and staff did not do enough to protect children.

Areas of the home were also in need of urgent repair, according to Ms Wright.

She rated the home as ‘inadequate’ and issued a number of targets that management need to hit as a matter or urgency to improve their Ofsted rating.

The inspection visit to the home, which is part of the Cambian Childcare Limited, took place last month. It cares for children with emotional and behavioural problems. Its exact address has not been revealed.

Ms Wright said: “One child has had a period of sleeping on the floor on a mattress behind their bedroom door, effectively barricading it, in an attempt to feel safe. The child expressed concerns about another child trying to harm him and so took these steps to protect himself.

“It is of grave concern that neither the manager nor the staff team has been able to develop a strategy to protect this child and support him to overcome his fears, or to provide an alternative and safe place for him to sleep.”

Inspectors said record keeping was not maintained and while there had been significant staff turnover, this has not always been to the benefit of the children.



The report said: "Managers have failed to consider the needs of children when planning new admissions. This poor planning has resulted in one child becoming anxious and fearful about the behaviour presented by a newly admitted child.

"Children can talk to staff in the ‘children’s chat’ sessions. These sessions enable children to express their preferences for activities and menu choices. However, staff do not reflect how children contribute to their own care plans in their case records, and this means that children’s views are entirely absent from key records.

"Whistleblowers have raised significant concerns with Ofsted about the safety and welfare of children living at the home. These concerns include the lack of consistent staff caring for children, poor matching of children moving into the home, damage in the home environment, little staff support and an escalation in children’s behaviour.

"Admission processes are not thorough enough and have contributed to children not being safeguarded. Children have been admitted to the home without a comprehensive assessment of the impact that their admission will have on other children already living at the home.

Jeremy Wiles, a spokesman for the home, said: “We are disappointed with the recent Ofsted inspection, the findings in the home and the rating. We know we have work to do and recognise the challenges to return the home to the standard that we expect.

"We have started to make changes immediately and we expect these to have a direct positive impact on the children in the home.”

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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