A SCHOOL for learning disabled children has dropped from "outstanding" to "inadequate" after its latest Ofsted report said: "serious and widespread failures that mean children and young people are not protected and their welfare is not safeguarded."

A member of staff who had a criminal caution had started working at the school without proper safeguarding in place, a report said.

The Vale Of Evesham School on Four Pools Lane, Evesham provides education for pupils who have autism spectrum disorders and learning disabilities, also offering a boarding service for 15 children.

The Ofsted report released in November read: "A prospective new member of staff in the school was dishonest on their application for their role. When the prospective new member of staff informed senior leaders that they had a criminal caution from the police, an assessment of risk was undertaken by management staff who were not qualified to do so."

"As a result, the member of staff started employment without sufficient safeguards in place. Further to this, the school’s single central record for the staff was missing essential information. These shortfalls increase the potential for inappropriate and unsafe people to gain employment in the school and this means that children are potentially placed at unknown and unassessed risk."

The report continued: "Designated safeguarding leads have failed to follow procedures that are designed to keep children safe."

"A member of staff was charged by police after being involved in a violent incident in public. Disciplinary proceedings were commenced, and the member of staff resigned from their post. Managers did not ensure that a referral was made to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) following this safeguarding concern."

Despite this the Ofsted report praised the school's "homely feel" and said the communal areas were "clean and comfortable."

The report also said the children the inspector spoke with were positive and enjoyed the range of activities and trips offered by the school. Feedback from parents is also positive, and the staff respond well to children’s health needs.

Executive Principal of The Vale of Evesham School Liz Hayward said the report had "shocked and saddened" staff.

"Following this devastating outcome, our focus for the immediate future is to systematically address the issues detailed in the report - indeed a number of these were addressed before the inspectors left the school on 7th November - and others were resolved in the immediate days and weeks following the inspection’s conclusion. We continue to work hard to rectify any further issues the inspection raised."

"Our concerns also lie with the families of our students at what will be a worrying time for them. Vale of Evesham has built a strong positive reputation within the school and wider community over many years and while we fully acknowledge that we have issues to attend to, we seek to reassure families of our determination to move swiftly away from this judgement. We also want to reassure families of our students that Vale of Evesham school continues to be the safe and motivating school that their children enjoy attending."

"We are extremely confident that the school will return to a positive outcome when Ofsted returns to undertake their monitoring visits in the spring or summer of 2020. We can be confident of rapid and sustained progress because Vale of Evesham staff remain highly skilled and continue to work with a clear focus on providing excellent educational opportunities for children and young people with additional needs."