Ofsted Inspection Praises Mundesley House For Outcomes But Safety Provision Inadequate

Mundesley House

Mundesley House

An Ofsted inspection has found that the Mundesley boarding house provides outstanding results for the children who use it.

But they’ve also said that some aspects of safety provision and management are inadequate and need to be addressed.

The inspectors visited the facility last September and spoke to staff, boarders and their parents, as well as pupils who spent time there in the past.

Their report went before members at last week’s Children and Young People Committee.

Ofsted says that without the boarding house, the children who use it would face significant disadvantage and school attendance would be dependant on the weather and the condition of the sea.

Inspectors added that it gives off-island children the chance to take part in extra-curricular activities and avoid social isolation.

Boarders described life there as “like one big happy family” and feel valued and listened to.

While parents said the provision was “crucial” and prepared their children for the transition to further education on the mainland.

Meals were described as nutritious and accommodation good, although inspectors say the grant money received was inadequate to keep up with repairs and it needed redecorating.

But Ofsted say they are concerned about shortfalls in staff recruitment records and policy documents to support the children’s safeguarding.

While all staff have criminal records checks, inspectors say not all have records of identity checks, history of employment or two references.

They say the system is not robust and increases the risk of inappropriate adults working with children.

They also said regular maintenance is not carried out in a timely manner, with several fire doors found to be ineffective.

The link between the boarding house and the school was said to be “ineffective” following months of management uncertainty, although they added there were signs that this was improving.

Head Teacher Linda Todd told councillors that all of the safety-related issues identified by Ofsted were addressed immediately.

Earlier in the meeting, councillors had also approved moving £26,000 from the Isles of Scilly Education Grant, which comes from central government, to fund refurbishment work at Mundesley.

Linda said that many of the issues around leadership were historical and things were now moving forward.

The Council is currently undertaking a review of the boarding house and recently appointed Indigo, an off-shoot of the University of Cumbria, to undertake the work.

Head of Children’s Services Joel Williams says that’s well underway, with the first interviews due to take place this week.

He said the Council, which owns the Mundesley House building, is putting in place a formal lease with the school, which would clarify who is responsible for repairs and maintenance.

Committee chair Christine Savill said this was previously done on an ‘ad hoc’ basis and would be part of a “tidying up process.”

Joel also assured Cllr Mollie Peacock that parents, including those on the off-islands, would be formally consulted on the future of the facility.

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