Family’s fears over care of college pupil

The carers of a Buxton student with special needs have warned parents that their children may not be safe at Buxton and Leek College.

The couple, who do not wish to be named, said they have removed their 18-year-old niece from the college, claiming she was not supervised or safeguarded.

They are now filing a formal complaint into the way the teenager, who has learning difficulties and the mental age of a six-year-old, was neglected by staff.

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The guardians, of Glossop, said they initially complained to the Buxton Campus, on Devonshire Road, on December 19.

They said that their niece, who suffers from neurofibromatosis type 1, was vulnerable and needed constant supervision at college, was not allowed out at lunchtimes or to have access to social media.

But they say the teenager left the campus on several occasions, as well as set up a Twitter account on a college laptop during school hours.

Through a Freedom of Information request, the couple obtained email correspondence between staff about their niece. Several emails are understood to have flagged up information which teachers thought should be passed on to the carers but they were never contacted.

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The couple said their concerns about their niece’s welfare were never taken seriously and that staff continually evaded responsibility by blaming others.

They have since written a 40-page letter of complaint, which the college have acknowledged but have yet to respond to.

The aunt said: “Her IQ puts her in the bottom one per cent but she’s been allowed to wander freely. It’s a catalogue of errors. They are not doing their jobs.

“It’s abuse and institutional neglect; something is really wrong. I’d be devastated if something happened to one of those kids and we hadn’t raised the alarm.

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“One day, one of them is going to get run over or disappear because they’re vulnerable and they’re not getting looked after.

“They can’t complain for themselves so we’re fighting for them. ”

A spokesperson from the University of Derby, which runs the college, said: “We are aware of some recent concerns raised in respect of a student at Buxton and Leek College. This is currently being dealt with through our complaints process and we are unable to comment further at this time.”