A children's home owned by a Real Housewives of Cheshire star has lost its appeal to admit any more children after the education watchdog found 'serious failures'. 

AP Care Homes Limited, registered in Altrincham, was established by the celebrity and OnlyFans model, Ampika Pickston, in July 2022.

Moss Farm Children's Home, in Cheshire, was registered with Ofsted the following summer to provide care for up to four girls with social and emotional difficulties.

However, a tribunal held earlier this month heard how it wasn't long after the home opened when it started facing problems.

Concerns were raised by Ofsted, which rated the home as 'inadequate' in November last year, about "serious failures" in the home.

This included concerns around children vaping, children who went missing from the home, self-harming behaviours, a lack of staff training around the use of restraints and an instance where a child didn't eat for two days.

The education watchdog stated there was also an incident where Ms Pickston, who is the fiancee of West Ham chairman, David Sullivan, "blurred" boundaries by inviting a child to her home.

The tribunal report added that despite this finding, Ms Pickston invited children to her home again three weeks later.

Ofsted inspectors, Catherine Fargin and Emma Thornton, issued their joint verdict based on what they described as "widespread failures" where youngsters were "not protected or their welfare is not promoted or safeguarded".

Ofsted decided to suspend the home's registration for 12 weeks between November 2023 to February this year.

An inspection to review the suspension notice took place on January 3 and due to experienced staff now being in place, the suspension was lifted.

However, within weeks more concerns surrounding a young person, identified only as 'child A', were highlighted during a monitoring visit at the end of January.

Ofsted reported the child had made an allegation that they had suffered a knee injury and bruising, requiring hospital treatment, as a result of a physical intervention which had been used to hold the child more than once.

The child also made two allegations while living at the home which Ofsted said were not appropriately responded to. 

After this, the education watchdog issued the home a restriction notice, restricting accommodation to the home, which it decided to keep in place after subsequent visits in March and April.

It also issued a 'notice of decision to cancel registration', which is under a separate appeal.

However, AP Care Homes appealed the restriction order on the grounds that inspectors were "overly critical" and slammed the outcome as "disproportionate". 

Earlier this year, a spokesperson for the care home also told Messenger Newspapers that it would legally challenge Ofsted for its "factually incorrect report".

However, the tribunal heard how a high turnover of staff had become an issue at the home.

Two members of staff resigned in September and October last year and Ms Pickston, the company's sole director, had "no suitable experience" for the role.

The education watchdog was initially satisfied with the appointment of new staff members, Leigh Brooks as the home's new manager, and Darren Roberts as a responsible individual in January.

Yet shortly after their appointment, 'child A' was placed in the home and left a week later.

Ofsted said the termination of the child's placement and several events of "particular concern" between January 27 and 29 placed a spotlight on staff and their potential lack of understanding of the child's complex needs and behaviours.

Inspectors described the incident as "chaotic" which was "harmful to the child emotionally", therefore influencing its decision to serve the home with the restriction notice.

Ofsted's subsequent visits over the following weeks reportedly fuelled concerns over leadership, management, safeguarding, quality compliance, physical intervention and staff knowledge.

The tribunal also heard how the former manager, Brendan Prior, said he had felt "under pressure" to accept 'child A'.

However, Leigh Brooks, who became acting manager at Moss Farm on March 14, told the tribunal she became concerned about what she perceived as a "negative attitude" to her by an Ofsted inspector. 

Ms Brooks also did not accept Ofsted's characterisation of the child's admission to be "chaotic" and stated the termination was "justified" as the child "made clear they did not want to be there and would continue with negative behaviours if forced to remain".

She added she did not "feel qualified" to say if 'child A' suffered emotional damage as a result but admitted there were some shortfalls and a lack of "professional curiosity" surrounding the child's history.

Ms Brooks was also reportedly "defensive" and "hurt" that her efforts were not acknowledged by Ofsted.

Meanwhile, AP Care Homes Ltd found "unduly forthright questioning" by the inspectors had "placed the staff on guard".

The tribunal heard how the new deputy manager of the home, Kirsty Thomas, had the "same concerns" about the "perceived attitude" of an Ofsted inspector.

However, Ofsted continued to raise concerns in April about safeguarding training and safe recruiting, having found "no references" or updated DBS information.

Ms Brooks and Mr Roberts, who were both dismissed from their previous employment, were of particular concern.

At the tribunal hearing, Ms Brooks failed to provide references from her previous employment, or call a witness, while Mr Roberts did not attend at all. 

In her conclusion, tribunal judge Melanie Lewis weighed up the evidence.

She said that while children may be admitted to a home at short notice with challenging needs and behaviours, it is a "dynamic process, not an exact science, and risks to the child, staff and the wider community must be constantly assessed". 

She added: "This home has a very serious history of failure in a very short time" and has an "extremely high level of lack of compliance".

In balance, she gave credit to Ms Brooks for taking responsibility for her part with the shortfalls surrounding concerns with 'child A' and that the home has showed some progress.

The judge said both Ms Brooks and Mr Roberts are "experienced" in their line of work but that Ms Brooks failed to tell the tribunal about her dismissal while Mr Roberts did not attend, meaning "we have concerns about his commitment to his role".

Ms Lewis added: "As an experienced professional he would have known he would have to answer these questions. His lack of engagement is striking."

The judge then said the crux of the issue is the fact that some of the staff members who were employed around the 'child A' admission are still working at the home.

Meanwhile, Ofsted's visits and reviews of the home were in accordance with the law and were to be expected to hold the provider to "very close scrutiny".

As a result of this, the tribunal dismissed the appeal and found the restriction to be "wholly proportionate and necessary" to remain in place.

Ms Lewis said if the restriction was lifted, "a child may be at risk of harm", but that the restriction could be reviewed if Ms Brooks provides her employment references and if Mr Roberts attends a 'fit person' interview with Ofsted.

AP Care Homes Limited has been contacted for comment.