Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
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Staff make a real difference to children and young people’s experiences of life in residential care

Four reports published yesterday give an insight into children and young people’s views and experiences of life in various residential settings.

A key finding in all four reports was the positive difference that good staff make to the quality of life of children and young people in their care.

The reports produced by the Children’s Rights Director for England, Dr Roger Morgan, are Life in secure care, Life in children’s homes, Life in residential special schools and Life in residential further education.

The four reports asked children and young people a wide range of questions covering what they most and least liked about living in their setting, their advice on the nature of future settings, and their perceptions of safety and dangers.

In secure care, the most common negative mention was the loss of freedom and being locked up. Surprisingly, however, most young people said that secure unit was a safe place for them to be as it kept them out of trouble and helped them to sort themselves out. Some said they felt safe from other people who would try to harm them if they were outside – ‘no one can get you’, was one response. Many feared leaving security and losing its safety and support.

In children’s homes and residential special schools, fire was seen as a danger. Some of the reasons why they thought fire was a danger were because there were locks on the windows and doors, bars on the window and the building was old. For residential special schools, where some of the children have disabilities, they were particularly worried about fire because they know they cannot so easily get to safety without help.

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