Sheffield children's home closed after series of knife, arson and bizarre drunken incidents

News.
News.

A council-run children's home was closed down following a series of serious incidents involving thrown knives, fires and bizarre drunken behaviour, The Star can reveal.

A report by education watchdog Ofsted noted how youngsters in drink walked into moving cars, laid in the road and also walked into the houses of strangers.

The facility was rated as 'Inadequate' – the lowest possible rating – amid concerns for children's safety and shut down for 15 months.

It reopened in March this year and despite a recent Ofsted inspection highlighting that the situation has improved, residents who live nearby claim there has been a string of recent anti-social behaviour and nuisance incidents.

The home in question is in Gleadless Valley but the authorities have asked that we do not report the full address to safeguard the children who live there.

Residents who live on the same street described living in a state of fear.

A mum-of-two, who did not want to be named, claimed staff are struggling to cope with the children who are "often out in out on the streets shouting and swearing."

She and her neighbours have lodged several complaints to Sheffield Council.

A damning Ofsted report published in December 2015 highlighted “serious and widespread failures.”

The report said: “Drunken incidents, aggressive and unpredictable outbursts give young people cause for concern.

“Young people have had a knife thrown at them and others have been punched in the face during incidents with other residents.”

The report said some youngsters had, after drinking alcohol, “lay in the road, walking into moving cars or entering the house of strangers with unknown adults.”

In addition youngsters with "known fire starting risk" had unsupervised control of lighters which led to a fire in the garden.

The report also stated: “The risks of child sexual exploitation are not identified and assessed.”

After a period of closure, Ofsted returned and a report published in August highlighted a number of improvements.

Jennifer Fenlon, social care inspector, observed that the children are are being helped by staff “to re-engage and attend education.”

But she ruled the facility still 'requires improvement' and raised concerns that children are being admitted in “quick succession” which has “impacted upon the stability of the home.”

A Sheffield Council spokesperson said: “In 2016 we made the decision to temporarily close the home to make changes to the structure and staffing, to make sure children are given the best level of care.

"Since it has re-opened there have been a small number of reports from residents about noise and we take these very seriously. We are working with the staff and children at the home to manage this ."