Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Thurrock special needs children may have been sent to residential schools under investigation

THURROCK Council may have used residential schools for children with special needs which are under investigation by the Government for “serious failures”, it has been revealed reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

Councils across the country have been warned a safeguarding review of three residential homes operated by the Hesley Group revealed evidence of “physical abuse and violence, neglect, emotional abuse and sexual harm.”

The review revealed Fullerton House, Wilsic Hall and Wheatley House, located in Doncaster misused medication and used restraints and “inappropriate temporary confinement” .

At a meeting of Thurrock’s corporate parenting committee on Wednesday, Dan Jones, strategic lead – children looked after, delivered a report to councillors on a review being carried out in Thurrock.

He said: “Last year it came to light that at Wilsic and Fullerton schools there were significant concerns raised that triggered the Government to call a national review. They wrote to every single authority asking us to take urgent actions. One was quality and safety reviews on the children placed in those settings.

“We went a little bit further than requested and looked at all the children in residential care settings who had an education health care plan just to reassure ourselves. We didn’t find any significant or urgent areas of concern.”

However, chairman Paul Arnold, questioned officers on whether any Thurrock special needs children had been sent to Wilsic Hall or Wheatley House.

Mr Arnold said: Can you confirm that none of our Thurrock children were placed at either of these two schools?”
Mr Jones replied: “I am not able to confirm that.”

Undeterred, Mr Arnold asked when the information could be provided.

Janet Simon, assistant director, children’s social care and early help, said: “That would be information that we couldn’t provide at this meeting because any numbers would be so small that it would possibly identify children.”

Finally, Mr Arnold asked: “Were the Hesley schools on our approved specialist schools list and if they were have they been removed?”

Ms Simon responded: “They were and they have.”


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