Laura Sharman 06 April 2018

Investigation launched into serious failures at specialist school

An investigation has been launched into a charity for the blind following ‘serious concerns’ over the safeguarding of vulnerable children and young people.

The Charity Commission has opened the inquiry into the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and its subsidiary charity after serious safeguarding incidents at the Pears Centre for Specialist Learning in Coventry.

The investigation will examine the governance, management and oversight of the charities’ safeguarding arrangements.

Eleanor Southwood, chair of RNIB, said: ‘A few weeks ago we received a notice from Ofsted, which regulates our children’s services, proposing to cancel our registration to run the children’s home at RNIB Pears Centre for Specialist Learning in Coventry, Warwickshire. This was in response to a series of increasingly poor monitoring reports which have criticised the way we have run the service.

‘We now have to demonstrate to Ofsted substantial improvements by mid-April and we will know Ofsted’s decision in mid-May.

‘The children at Pears Centre are our number one priority. We recognise the seriousness of Ofsted’s concerns and we’re truly sorry that the level of service we’ve provided has not been good enough.’

The chief executive of the charity, Eleanor Southwood, has resigned from her position as a result of the investigation.

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