A SCHOOL for pupils with complex learning difficulties has been told its social care provisions are inadequate.

St John’s school in Seaford was inspected by Ofsted in February. It maintains a "good" rating, despite the report.

The inspectors found St John’s to have “serious failures”, meaning pupils are not protected and their welfare is not promoted.

In her report, social care inspector Ruth Cole said: “The overall inadequate inspection judgement is given because leaders and managers failed to act to protect a child’s safety effectively following a safeguarding concern.

“I also found numerous issues regarding the premises which had not been identified or addressed within appropriate timescales.

The Argus: St John's school, SeafordSt John's school, Seaford

“Leaders and managers failed to ensure that staff followed the school’s safeguarding procedures regarding a child protection concern. Staff did not escalate the concerns in a timely manner.

“The concern was poorly managed after it became known. An investigation into staff practice did not clearly identify what occurred and failed to identify learning to improve practice.”

There were also concerns from the inspector over health and safety practices. A new fire door was found not to have been fitted with expandable strips, which seal doors during a fire, helping to prevent it spreading. The strips were fitted during the visit.

Despite the issues raised, the school was found to have many positive aspects, including the good relationships built between staff and each individual learner.

One pupil in particular had become able to express their feelings due to the positive relationships, having been unable to before, while another said he has significantly reduced the number of times he felt anxious with help of staff.

“Children’s health needs are generally met well,” said the inspector.

“The school’s specialist therapeutic staff recently began working directly with the residential staff and children when they stay overnight. Staff say that this is helping them to enhance their abilities to respond to children well.

“The staff understand children’s health needs and there are well-organised and managed medication systems.”

The Argus: The new head teacher has an 'imaginative' vision for St John's in SeafordThe new head teacher has an 'imaginative' vision for St John's in Seaford

Learners were found to be safe, and “do not go missing” and they were “almost never” restrained by staff when staying overnight.

Further improvements are being made with the recent appointment of headteacher Anthony Carlo, who has an “imaginative” vision for the school.

The report said: “He is introducing systems that better integrate a child’s education, care and home life. These positive changes are aimed at promoting collaborative partnerships which support children to thrive.

“The plans are currently in their infancy and have not yet had time to demonstrate a positive impact on the progress and experience of children.”

Responding to the report in a statement on the school’s website,  chief executive Simon Charleton said: “The senior leadership team at St John’s school is disappointed in the outcome of the recent Ofsted inspection of the residential aspect of the school.

“We have put a detailed action plan into place. We have already made improvements and are fully committed to putting all the issues identified by Ofsted right with pace and determination. The Ofsted judgement for the education element of the school remains as good.”

St John’s operates another site in Walpole Road, Brighton, which also maintains a good Ofsted judgement.