Turnaround for Vinney Green

A SECURE children’s home rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted a year ago has turned around its fortunes.

In June last year Ofsted demanded urgent action at Vinney Green after inspectors found that children at the unit suffered “unlawful, painful” physical restraint and unjustified solitary confinement for up to three days.

The education watchdog’s latest inspection of the establishment found South Gloucestershire Council, which runs the unit between Mangotsfield and Emersons Green, had made major improvements in the last year.

Its report, published on May 31 following a three-day visit in April, said the home was now “lively but relaxed”.

Inspectors awarded it a rating of ‘good’ in every category assessed: education and learning; health; help and protection for children and young people; effectiveness of leaders and managers.

A year ago Ofsted criticised the local authority for “repeated failures” over several years, and said the Youth Custody Service had stopped placing young people at the home amid “serious concerns about children’s care, safety and well-being”.

At the time, the council accepted there were “practices happening which shouldn’t have been” and took immediate steps to address them.

The latest report follows Ofsted’s third visit to the site since the ‘inadequate’ rating.

The inspectors said: “Children develop positive relationships with staff and benefit from predictable structures and routines.

“An inclusive culture which promotes equality and diversity enables children to explore their developing sense of identity.

“Children appreciate the support they receive from staff and recognise that they have made good progress as a result of living in the home.

“Children’s views are valued. They are closely involved in developing their written care and support plans.”

Inspectors said youngsters influenced decisions about the day-to-day running of the home by having meetings to make choices about menus, activities and resources.

“Staff make good use of the facilities to ensure that children can participate in activities that support their individual talents and interests,” the report said.

“Children are also encouraged to join in group activities.

“This helps them to learn how to build relationships with each other and with staff which are based on trust and respect.

“The result is an atmosphere which is lively but relaxed.”

The report said youngsters were encouraged to maintain regular contact with their families and know how to make a complaint if they are unhappy about any aspect of their care.

They then receive a written response from managers, although records “do not consistently capture whether children are satisfied with the actions which have been taken in response to the complaint”.

A council spokesperson said: “We are very pleased that the hard work and commitment of our staff at Vinney Green has been recognised by Ofsted with this assessment.

“We recognise that we will always have more work to do in order to continue to improve the support we provide to children in our care and we are committed doing that work, while we are pleased that Ofsted have recognised our progress so far.”

By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service