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Bradstow School Broadstairs: Close This Disgrace Down Now!



As the dad of two autistic and learning disabled daughters I cannot overstate the  sadness and anger I feel when an organization which is   supposed be caring for vulnerable people like my daughters, is found to be abusing  the trust placed in it  by  cruelly  neglecting the  health, well-being and dignity of those in its  charge.


Bradstow School in Broadstairs is a special needs school with approximately 60 pupils who are profoundly autistic and learning disabled. About  40 of the pupils live at the school.

 

I have obtained evidence  which, I believe, shows the school to be badly managed and failing in its duties to keep its pupils physically and emotionaly safe.


Most of this evidence goes back to October-December 2023 when the education and social care inspector OFSTED published a series of condemnatory reports about the residential care provided by the school.


Ther reports downgrade previoulsy good ratings to a "requires improvement" status for the schools residential provision. They cite many harrowing incidents including the questionable use of restraint by staff, poor record keeping, poor and potentially unsafe administration of medication, poor personal care provision, and lack of supervision of residential pupils.


So concerned was OFSTED by the matters it uncovered that in Ocotber 2023 it banned the school from accepting any new residential pupils.


Following another inspection in December 2023 OFSTED noted that the residential service;-


" is not yet delivering good help and care for children and young people. However, there are no serious or widespread failures that result in their welfare not being safeguarded or promoted"


Although the help and care for chlidred was still not good OFSTED took the astonishing decision to lift the "restriction of accommodation order" which it had issued 24 October 2023.


The Kent County Council Letter


Whilst OFSTED appears to have taken the view that things were slowly improving at Bradstow School, this was not the opinion of Kent of Kent County Council (KCC).


In a confidential letter to the parents of Bradstow pupils dated 23 May 2024 - six months after OFSTED's decison to lift the ban on taking more residential pupils, KCC set out a list of 11 seperate and current concerns it had about the school, including some matters involving the police.


On reading this letter it becomes clear that many, it not all, of the problems identfied by OFSTED in 2023 are still live issues which are causing serious worries, in some cases almost a year after being first identified.


Such is the level of KCCs conceren that its letter states that it is working on developing contingency plans to remove Bradstow pupils to safer places should things not improve.


Although the letter to parents is headed confidential I belive that it is in the the public interest to publish it in full.





What Former Staff Say


What Kent County Council says in its letter to parents and what OFSTED says in its reports is supported and confirmed by online comments made by former Bradstow staff. All of these comments have been made within the past 12 months.


  • A very challenging physically and mentally place to work due to a serious lack of experienced staff and very poor management.A toxic culture which those who get promoted are the ones with brown noses.Working with to the young people can be rewarding, but because of low staff numbers it is like working in a containment centre or secure unit.This can cause many injuries to the staff and indeed the young people. Very little or no supervisions and no staff appraisals.A lot must be improved or the school will close. An extremely high turnover of staff and much fear permeates the place as the threaten of losing jobs as staff are inadequately supported by management!


  • Toxic Not meeting the needs of children. Children do not learn, do not have the opportunity to learn, are treated like prisoners mental health not supported it's like a Victorian poor house


  • Regrettably, Bradstow School, once an esteemed workplace, has spiraled into a harrowing environment. Chronic understaffing and high turnover rates mean employees are overburdened and vulnerable, often left as the sole core staff member amidst a sea of agency workers. The workplace now mirrors that of a bleak institution, with staff feeling like prison wardens. Management styles of working are poor with little to no communication between them or staff. Toxicity pervades the atmosphere, with bullying and unjust disciplinary actions a norm. Management's profit-driven mindset has fostered a culture of deceit, where truth is frequently obscured, and genuine concerns are dismissed. The headmistress's decisions lack empathy and disrupt staff and children's lives, with no regard for consultation or well-being. In light of these concerns, prospective employees should approach positions at Bradstow School with caution and skepticism.


  • Years ago this was once an enjoyable place to work, and it's just gone down and down hill over the years. Management is actually appalling, no clue, literally the blind leading the blind! All the good working staff have left that have been here years, which has resulted in them employing anyone with a heartbeat. Staff that work with the children aren't listened to or consulted on on any of the decisions made even though they know the children the best. Management and head of care are no where to be seen on care side. Staff morale is at an all time low. Lucky to get paid your correct wages every month. Different rules apply depending on who you are and if your face fits. Med errors made left right and centre. Can't think of any positives.


All comments, including positive ones can be found here  https://uk.indeed.com/cmp/Bradstow-School/reviews?


What Next?


It is clear that since having had good and outstanding OFSTED reports something has gone terribly wrong at Bradstow School. So much so that KCC is now working on plans to move pupils to places of safety if neccessary.


In my opinion, time has now run out for the school, especially its management team, and it should be closed down as quickly as possible. There must also be a full public enquiry into this appalling situation, and those responsible named and shamed and never allowed to work in organisations providing services to vulnerbale people ever again.



Callout if you any information about what has been hapening a Bradstow School please contact me. Confidentiality assured.







 

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