Acorn’s Children’s Home in Bexhill was deemed inadequate by Ofsted

A “dreary” children’s home where a window fell on a child has been slammed by Ofsted for “serious and widespread failure”.

Acorns Children’s Home in Bexhill was found to be inadequate by the Inspectorate following an inspection in October.

The convalescent and residential home, which can care for up to eight children with learning and physical disabilities, currently cares for two children who were placed as emergency shelters in 2019 and 2020.

Since then they have been living in the home because no suitable alternative accommodation can be found.

Inspectors said the children had been “deprived” of their liberty, lacked access to “meaningful” education and were not living in a “pleasant” home, with a window falling on one child and the hygiene of another deteriorating due to a delay in the Speech worsened her sensory needs when entering the bathroom.

The report states: “There are serious and widespread mistakes that result in children and young people not being protected or promoting their well-being, poor care and experiences of children and young people and poor progress.

“Children do not live in comfortable homes and staff practices create an institutional environment, like locking doors.

“The environment is gloomy and unfriendly. For example, in a child’s room, dirty sofa cushions are piled up, and there are stains, holes and writing all over the walls. There is a boarded up window with no confirmed date on when this will be fixed.

“There was a lack of urgency to repair a children’s pool. One wall is missing a radiator that has not been replaced and consequently there is exposed plumbing.”

Inspectors said staff lacked the skills, experience or knowledge to deal with the children’s behavior, leading to staff employing practices to impose restrictions to ensure the children’s safety.

The report states: “For example, to control a child’s behavior, it is common to lock the child in an area or room while staff observe through a window.

“Other strategies include staff locking doors to protect themselves if child behavior escalates.

“The restrictions placed on a child are so severe that they will only leave the house for doctor’s appointments or for a short minibus ride under staff supervision.

“He has no interaction with other children and cannot participate in activities outside the home.

East Sussex County Council, which runs the home, said improvements have already been made.

“We are very proud of the work we do in our children’s homes and are obviously disappointed with the recent Ofsted assessment for Acorns Children’s Home,” said a spokeswoman for the council.

“We accept the findings of the report and responsibility for any deficiencies identified.

“We are committed to providing the best possible care for children in our county and have been reassured that OFSTED’s recent surveillance visit has confirmed that we have already made significant progress in addressing the issues raised during the inspection to ensure that the necessary improvements are made.” Acorn’s Children’s Home in Bexhill was deemed inadequate by Ofsted

Fry Electronics Team

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