Four activity centres in England suspended over ‘serious’ safeguarding concerns

Ofsted has suspended four holiday activity centres for children in England over “serious safeguarding concerns” in a rare move by the organisation.

Allegations by the education watchdog, include substance misuse by staff.

The sites to have their registration suspended are Liddington in Wiltshire, Marchants Hill in Surrey, Osmington Bay in Dorset and Windmill Hill in East Sussex.

The Ofsted reports relate to the provision of childcare to unaccompanied children under eight. The suspension only applies to the provision of those services at the four centres.

Ofsted said that some of the concerns identified were being investigated by other agencies and it was unable to provide specific details at this stage.

PGL Travel said it was "committed to the highest operational standards" and was "frustrated" by the findings.

“Over the next six weeks, we will be working with Ofsted to fully understand their concerns. We are passionate about delivering high-quality, inspiring learning experiences that change young people’s lives and will address any shortfalls identified,” a spokesperson said.

Ofsted made the announcement after its inspectors visited PGL's five UK sites during the half-term week.

It found "serious safeguarding concerns" at four of them and suspended activities relating to the provision of childcare for unaccompanied seven year olds.

Other services that include activities taken with parents or as part of a school trip - are still running.

The allegations also included environmental health, and health and safety, Ofsted said.

PGL Travel, the camp operator, provides residential breaks and activity holidays for children aged seven to 17. It operates centres across the UK and France.

Ofsted is only able to inspect PGL’s registered childcare provision in England and does not have any power to inspect or regulate other activities that the company runs for children who are accompanied by their schools or parents.

The regulator said: “We recognise the impact this decision will have on many families. PGL has a duty to inform affected parents urgently, and we have requested contact details in order to do the same.”

Meanwhile, two reports by Ofsted on Thursday concluded that legislation does not reflect the level of influence that early years multiple providers and social care groups have on nurseries and children’s homes.

The regulator said it was currently only able to inspect individual nurseries, preschools and children’s homes, and has called for enhanced powers “to make sure multiple providers and groups are having a positive impact on children”.