A SPECIALIST college has been told it requires improvement by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Cambian Dilston College, near Corbridge, was inspected by the watchdog in August after they had received concerns in relation to the appropriateness of placements, restraint, staffing, food stocks, premises and management support.

The college received a 'requires improvement' rating in the key areas of safety, effectiveness, and being well-led. For the key area of responsiveness, they were rated as 'good'.

Its overall rating is now that it 'requires improvement'.

The service previously had an overall rating of 'good' in a report published in January 2019 following its last inspection.

Cambian Dilston College is a specialist provider of further education, offering day and up to 52-week residential placements for young people aged 16 - 25 years with learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorder.

Inspectors found external care professionals had concerns about how the needs of potential students were assessed before their placement at the college.

They said the placement of some people with "extremely complex needs had resulted in a high number of safeguarding incidents."

"These were mainly attributable to people's complex and distressed behaviours, including self harm and physical altercations with other students," the report said, adding there had been a reduction in these as staff had supported people to find ways of coping when they were upset.

According to the report, the provider's quality assurance systems had not identified maintenance shortfalls, including those relating to fire safety checks.

The report also said staff were recruited safely and trained but did not always feel valued or supported by the organisation, and that there was a high turnover of staff and significant use of agency staff.

However, the report acknowledged that people appeared happy and relaxed with staff, and that staff understood their safeguarding responsibilities and built "positive and trusting relationships".

The report also stated that people received "individualised support at the college that promoted their independence", and that they were supported to keep in contact with their relatives.

Inspectors said a new management team was in place at the college and they were keen to work in a more cohesive and collaborative way, and that the provider was committed to improving the service.

A spokesperson for the Cambian Group said: “We are pleased that the inspectors have recognised some of the good work that our team are doing. 

"There is work still to be done, and with a new leadership team at the college we look forward to addressing the concerns that have been highlighted.”