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Celebrity-Run Children’s Care Home Shuttered by Ofsted Again after Child Taken to Hospital

An extraordinary intervention for the second time in three months in the care home owned by glamour model Ampika Pickston and funded by West Ham owner

Girlfriend of David Sullivan, Ampika Pickston at the West Ham Stadium in 2022. Photo: Action Plus Sports Images/Alamy

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Ofsted has stopped vulnerable children being sent to live in a care home owned by reality TV star and glamour model Ampika Pickston and funded by her billionaire West Ham United owner fiancee David Sullivan for the second time in three months, Byline Times can reveal.

The extraordinary intervention made by the watchdog against AP Care Homes Ltd revealed that the sole child in its care had, within days of living at the home, been hospitalised following a “physical intervention” by staff while on another occasion police had to be called to help manage the juvenile’s behaviour. 

The child was removed from the facility a week after arrival due to “concerns” expressed to the authorities by AP Care Homes Ltd that its own staff were unable to keep the child safe. 

A catalogue of further serious failings was uncovered in a ‘monitoring’ visit on 30 January by Ofsted, which last November suspended AP Care Homes Ltd’s licence after it uncovered a series of safeguarding issues, before allowing it to operate again in early January amid legal threats from Ms Pickston. 


The New Ofsted Report

In a damning report published on Tuesday, Ofsted found the company – which is owned wholly by the OnlyFans model, and bought its first property with a £1.2m loan from a company owned by her partner Sullivan, who made his money through pornography and sex shops – had failed to keep its child resident safe.

Issuing a notice “restricting accommodation at the home…with immediate effect”, the body said: “It is Ofsted’s view that it is unsafe to admit any other children to the home while this level of risk, ineffective leadership and poor management oversight continue. If children were admitted to the home, the risks would be exacerbated.” 

Children’s care campaigner Martin Barrow said: “This latest Ofsted report is scathing about the management of the home, which raises questions about why the suspension was lifted, which came after threats of legal action by Pickston.”

We reported in January how Byline Times had received a heavy legal letter from Liverpool-based legal firm Brabners, acting for AP Care Homes Ltd, for investigating the initial Ofsted report which had suspended its licence.

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A children’s home funded by billionaire West Ham United Chairman David Sullivan, and run by his glamour model partner Ampika Pickston, is operating again after Ofsted inspectors heavily criticised its care – leading to a fierce attack on the watchdog by the reality TV star

The report had found that a sexual assault allegation made by a juvenile resident who had gone missing from the “luxury” four-bedroom home in Styal, Cheshire, was not referred to the watchdog. It recorded “significant and serious shortfalls” in the care provided to the child residents, including that Pickston had “blurred professional boundaries” by allegedly taking a child back to her house.

Brabners claimed on 16 January that the report by independent regulator Ofsted – charged with inspecting schools, colleges, child-minders, nurseries and children’s homes in England – was “flawed” and that reporting on it would be “defamatory”.

Pickston meanwhile launched a furious riposte against Ofsted. Branding its findings “dishonest” and suggesting her being in the “public eye” had led “subconsciously” to a negative bias toward her, she claimed “no harm has come to any children” in her care, and announced she was considering legal action. 

On 14 February Ofsted announced AP Care Homes Ltd’s licence had been reinstated after a follow-up visit by the watchdog on 3 January found safeguarding standards were now being met.  It stated that a new manager had started working at the home, and Pickston had confirmed she would no longer be involved in the management of the home. 

One child was subsequently sent to live at the home, with insiders telling Byline Times that AP Care Homes Ltd received around £10,000 per child, per week, from the government. 

However, two weeks before the publication of the report announcing the reinstatement of AP Care Homes Ltd’s licence, a further Ofsted visit on 30 January led it to again revoke the company’s ability to operate, after the home was deemed “unsafe” for children to live in.

EXCLUSIVE

The Porn Baron Football Boss, his Glamour Model Fiancée and a War With Ofsted Over their ‘Failing’ Children’s Home

When a care home for vulnerable children funded by billionaire West Ham United Chairman David Sullivan, and run by his OnlyFans model reality TV star partner Ampika Pickston, had its registration suspended over safeguarding issues, it led to a strange chain of events and legal threats to this newspaper


Rights to Privacy

Despite staff having attended safeguarding training to enhance their skills and knowledge, as agreed as a stipulation of the suspension being lifted, Ofsted found they failed to “demonstrate this learning in practice”. 

It reported that “police assistance had been requested to manage the child’s behaviour and keep them safe” during a “poorly managed” safeguarding incident, but that the placing local authority and Ofsted had not been notified.

Physical intervention had been used to “hold the child on more than one occasion”, but that had not been recorded. The child required hospital treatment for bruising and a knee injury after one incident.

Ofsted also found that the child made two allegations (though it did not specify what about) when living at the home, but they were “not appropriately responded to” by managers and staff who failed to report the allegations, meaning “other safeguarding professionals” were “unable to take appropriate action…to keep the child safe”.

The watchdog found that, because the child had been removed for their own safety  “in [such] a poor and unplanned way” so soon after arriving, it meant that the child did not have “a positive ending to their time in the home”.

Recruitment checks inside the company were also found not to be “sufficiently robust”, with a “lack of consideration for when staff have previously worked in a position involving children and the reason why their employment ended”, which “potentially impacts on the safe care of children”.

In terms of AP Care Homes Ltd’s leadership management, Ofsted found its arrangements did “not provide stability in the home”. With no registered manager in post since 13 September last year, its new manager had not submitted a full application to register with Ofsted.  

Meanwhile, the new responsible individual, Daren Roberts, informed Ofsted he had spent one day a week at the home since starting employment on 2 January, leading Ofsted to say it did not feel the current management arrangements were “effective”.

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The monitoring visit was carried out due to “concerns that children’s rights to privacy could be compromised” and that “leaders and managers had not taken proactive steps to ensure that the privacy of children is appropriately protected.” 

“The responsible individual and manager had not considered how media interest could affect children’s privacy and had not implemented any safeguarding measures to reduce the known risks,” it said. However, leaders and managers had identified the actions they would now take to address this, it added.

While it is not clear what this referred to, Pickston is famed for her role on ITVX reality show Real Housewives of Cheshire between 2015 to 2017, before making a return to screens this year. This has led to media interest around the running of the care home, and the suspension of its licence, in the past few months. 

While sources at ITV had told this newspaper Pickston was not expected to make any further appearances on the programme, it has since emerged that she has filmed some scenes for the upcoming series. ITV has been approached for comment.

The 42-year-old has previously sold content of an adult nature on OnlyFans, and regularly posts revealing images of herself on social media, where she has also been public in her criticism of Ofsted. 

Calling for a public inquiry into whether Ofsted was “fit for purpose”, she compared its conduct to the ongoing Post Office Horizon scandal, which saw thousands of postmasters prosecuted due to a faulty computer program.

“I am standing up for people that have lost their homes, their lifestyles, their businesses… at the hands of Ofsted,” she said in an Instagram post 21 January. “Individuals within [Ofsted] think they have the artist license to write and do whatever they choose to and that it won’t be challenged. This is an abuse of power!!! This has to stop. They [Ofsted] picked on the wrong person as I will fight for the truth and changes need to be made.”

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Criticising Ofsted

Last weekend the AP Care Homes Instagram account posted a newspaper cutting which reported comments made by Education Secretary Gillian Keegan that she might “punch” Ofsted inspectors if she were a teacher. 

On the same day, Pickston replied to a tweet from Ofsted in which its chief inspector, Sir Martyn Oliver, announced the launch of a major public consultation of its work. Saying she had tried to contact Sir Martyn directly, she wrote: “You cherry pick who you wish to engage with. Extremely poor practice. [Taxpayers] deserve and expect more.”

Pickston, who through Sullivan regularly socialises with Tory Baroness Karen Brady, is also known to dip her toe into the world of politics. On 12 February, Pickston posted a photograph of herself on Instagram alongside Labour leader Keir Starmer, describing him as “a lovely gentleman”, and saying “times are changing”. 

Pickston has not made any public comment about the latest development. Her lawyers have been approached for comment and Byline Times will update this article if and when they respond. 

There is no suggestion that David Sullivan – whose estimated £1.2 billion fortune was made in the adult industry and who owns a 38.8% majority stake in West Ham – has any involvement in AP Care Homes Ltd, beyond the provision of financing.

Ofsted’s report said the watchdog would “carry out further visits to the home to monitor the restriction notice and the provider’s response to addressing the serious shortfalls identified at this monitoring visit”. It was given until 12 March to do so.

A spokesman for Ofsted declined to add further comment beyond its latest inspection report. 

Byline Times has seen adverts posted by AP Care Homes Ltd hiring staff for a separate children’s care home in Oldham, Greater Manchester. An Ofsted source said it had not received any other applications to register a children’s home from AP Care Homes Ltd. 



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