Council’s children’s centres told to improve

THURROCK COUNCIL’S children’s centres in the west of the borough have been told to improve by Ofsted.

The report, which looked at the Lakeside cluster of centres gave the centres a “Requires Improvement” ranking and  makes the following observations.

Criticisms

1. Managers’ data analysis and use of data is not effective enough in setting targets and raising achievement levels and to inform staff and service users of the impact of the centres’ work.

2.The centres are not doing enough to find out why some priority families are not attending activity sessions and events held by the centres.

3.The quality of provision is variable. The managers do not routinely evaluate whether services are making the difference they should to families and children who attend groups provided by staff and some partners.

4. The professional supervision of staff does not routinely ensure that leaders are sufficiently checking and, where appropriate, challenging case files. This results in a potential impact on the safeguarding of children and families.

5.The advisory board are extremely supportive but recognise that they have yet to be sufficiently challenging in their decision-making.

The strengths

1. Parents value highly the care, guidance and support they receive and feel welcome when accessing services. Parents comment on the trusting relationships they build with staff and how they are supported to make difficult changes in their lives.

2. The group provides a range of good quality services for parents to complete adult learning courses, improve their literacy and numeracy skills and gain qualifications to help them back into employment.

3. The work with the Traveller community and teenage parents is extremely successful. The play session provides an excellent opportunity for children and parents to play and learn together.

4. Childminders are very pleased with the support they receive from the local authority and the group. They say this helps them to improve their work with children in their care.

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