UPDATED: Head says ‘action is being taken’ as residential accommodation at Aylesbury school is rated inadequate

Pebble Brook School, Aylesbury
Pebble Brook School, Aylesbury

The headteacher of a special educational needs school in Aylesbury says action is being taken after a report by Ofsted branded its residential facilities as inadequate.

David Miller, headteacher at Pebble Brook School, said he was disappointed with the findings of the report, published by Ofsted last week.

However, he said he wished to reassure people that immediate action had been taken to address the education regulator’s concerns.

Mr Miller said: “In July 2015 at our last inspection we were given a ‘Good’ rating on the understanding that there would be significant investment to improve the building and its facilities.

“Plans have been drawn up but no investment has happened because the local authority has not given it the go ahead.”

The Ofsted report adds: “Despite the refurbishment being agreed and the money being ring-fenced work has not yet commenced.”

The report, published on May 3, said there were 11 unmet national standards that had the potential to impact on children’s welfare, health and safety.

Inspectors said in their report ‘there were baths and showers not fit for purpose in one area of the residential accommodation, so some children do not have adequate washing facilities’ and that ‘the running water is discoloured and not suitable for drinking.’

Other areas the inspectors criticised during the report were:

> Areas of the residential provision were not sufficiently cleaned and maintained

> A lack of kitchen storage space has resulted in some food being stored in open containers alongside cleaning products

> The fire risk assessment is not up-to-date

> The senior management team has failed to consistently implement the school’s safeguarding policy

> There are staff working in the accommodation who do not receive supervision or have the appropriate qualifications

> There are omissions in the records of physical intervention

Inspectors said that to improve the school needed to ensure they took appropriate action after meeting with boarders to get their views and ensure that action was taken to deal with incidents of potential bullying.

Mr Miller confirmed to The Bucks Herald that ‘a consultation on the future of boarding at the school is going ahead.’

Despite an overall judgement of inadequate, inspectors did highlight some positive aspects to life in the residential area of the school, which included:

> The staff understand the children’s needs

> The children and parents are positive about the school

> Meals are adequate in quantity

> The school engages effectively with children’s families

> Children say they feel safe

Pebble Brook celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015 and at the time Mr Miller said one of his best achievements during his time with the school was turning it around from Inadequate to Good in the space of 19 months during 2012 and 2013.

Mr Miller said he felt it was a ‘very harsh report’ adding: “We have evidence that some aspects of the report are inaccurate.

“For example they claim that a fire safety risk assessment has not been completed but Bucks Fire service have been to assess it and they say that our process for this is robust.

“We are totally committed to taking action and we have created an action plan - in every area they highlighted we are either taking action or are due to take action.”

Mr Miller added that they understood that inspectors were due to return to revisit the residential area of the school in around 12 months.