Ofsted has immediately withdrawn registration for young children at four PGL activity centres amid ‘serious safeguarding concerns’ – including allegations of substance misuse by staff.
The firm’s site at Liddington in Wiltshire, along with Marchants Hill in Surrey, Osmington Bay in Dorset and Windmill Hill in East Sussex have all been impacted.
The Ofsted action only relates to the provision of childcare to unaccompanied children.
The company, which was founded in 1957 and provides school adventure activity courses and summer camps for children aged 7-17, says all of its sites remain open.
It says the six week suspension by Ofsted impacts one customer who has already been informed.
School trips and visits with parents on site are not impacted, the company say.
The suspension comes after Ofsted inspectors found ‘serious safeguarding concerns’ during a series of inspections this week.
The firm’s site at Liddington in Wiltshire, along with Marchants Hill (pictured) in Surrey, Osmington Bay in Dorset and Windmill Hill in East Sussex have all been impacted
The Ofsted action only relates to the provision of childcare to unaccompanied children under eight. The company, which provides services for children aged 7-17, says its sites remain open and the six week suspension impacts one booking. Pictured: An aerial view of the Liddington centre
The suspension comes after Ofsted inspectors found ‘serious safeguarding concerns’ during a series of inspections this week. Pictured: Osmington Bay
The safeguarding concerns raised by the education watchdog included environmental health, health and safety, and the conduct of staff including substance misuse. Pictured: Windmill Hill
The safeguarding concerns raised by the education watchdog included environmental health, health and safety, and the conduct of staff including substance misuse.
MailOnline understands that the substance misuse is being dealt with as a disciplinary matter.
According to the i newspaper, the member of staff was said to be on the manufactured drug ‘spice’.
The children’s activity centres which have provided adventure holidays for youngsters for more than 60 years
PGL is a firm specialising in school activity courses and summer camps for children in the UK.
Founded in 1957, the company is named after the initials of its founder Peter Gordon Lawrence – though a common rumour among school children attending the camps is that the initials really stand for ‘Parents Get Lost’.
PGL currently has 12 sites across the UK, including PGL Bawdsey Manor in Suffolk, which is set on a 144 acre site, and Little Canada on the Isle of Wight.
It has five sites in France, including Château de Tertre in Normandy.
PGL’s largest area of business is its school trips and educational travel, including French language trips.
Along with school and youth group holidays, PGL also offers birthday parties and day trips.
The substance is a synthetic cannabinoid, known as the ‘zombie drug’ because users sometimes appear in a zombie-like state while high.
Ofsted said it undertook inspections this week at PGL centres providing Ofsted-registered care and activities for unaccompanied children on half-term holidays.
The regulator said it found serious safeguarding issues at four camps.
Because Ofsted is only able to inspect PGL’s childcare provision for unaccompanied children, the inspection reports do not cover services where children are accompanied by their school or parents.
Ofsted said it does not have the power to inspect PGL’s other services.
An Ofsted spokesperson said: ‘This week we undertook inspections of PGL centres providing Ofsted-registered care and activities for unaccompanied children on half-term holidays.
‘Having found serious safeguarding issues at four of these sites, we have taken the decision to immediately suspend each of the four registrations.
‘Some of the concerns identified are being investigated by other agencies and we are unable to provide specific details at this stage.
‘But we can advise that they include environmental health concerns, health and safety issues, and the conduct of staff – including substance misuse.
‘PGL provides residential breaks and activity holidays for children aged 7 -17 and operates from centres across the UK and France.
‘Ofsted is only able to inspect PGL’s registered childcare provision in England. We do not have any power to inspect or regulate the other activities that PGL runs for children who are accompanied by their schools or parents.’
The spokesperson added: ‘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.’
A PGL spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘PGL is committed to the highest operational standards.
The company’s site at Liddington in Wiltshire, along with Marchants Hill in Surrey, Osmington Bay in Dorset and Windmill Hill in East Sussex have all been impacted
‘Ofsted’s recent reports have highlighted potential risks arising from isolated administrative and procedural shortcomings at four sites.
Over the next six weeks while the specific service that is regulated by Ofsted does not in any event operate, we will be working with Ofsted to fully understand and address their concerns.
‘The vast majority of PGL’s services – such as multi-activity programmes for the education sector or family adventure holidays – are completely unaffected and continue to operate as normal.
The representation and communications of the suspensions by the regulator are both extremely disappointing and frustrating. They wrongly create a sense of systemic and widespread issues that belies the hard work, professionalism and commitment of the staff at PGL.
‘We are passionate about delivering high quality, inspiring learning experiences that change young people’s lives.’