CHILDREN’S centres in Poole still have work to do to provide a good service for families, despite making headway since the last damming Ofsted inspection.
The 2013 inspection judged the Rossmore and Branksome centres ‘inadequate’, in a report which said they were not being accessed by enough people, and the quality of practice and services, and the effectiveness of management, needed improvement.
Since then there have been big changes – including the merger of all the borough’s children’s centres into one group in April this year, under the leadership of a children centre services manager.
The group, comprising Branksome, Canford Heath, Hamworthy and Turlin Moor, Old Town, Rossmore and Ted Webster Children’s Centres, was inspected again in July, and was given an overall grading “requires improvement” – one above last year’s report.
The inspectors’ report highlights that “staff have worked tirelessly” to significantly improve the number of families registered with the centre, and acknowledges major reorganisations delivering “significant improvements”, as well as “rapid improvement” under the new manager.
Centres were also found to be particularly successful in providing support to families in times of crisis, and offering good support for children with special educational needs.
But among the problems was a lack of access to health information by management to plan suitable services, and the low number of parents completing adult learning courses. The report also called for new arrangements for governance to be strengthened to drive improvement.
Vicky Wales, pictured, head of children, young people and learning, said: “We are pleased that the latest report has recognised that we are delivering good quality, safe services to those families who receive them and that we have made significant improvements in many areas.
“Staff have worked incredibly hard to make these improvements and are to be commended on their efforts.”
Cllr Janet Walton, cabinet portfolio holder for families and young people, added: “We do however acknowledge that there is still work to be done, and this remains a priority for us as we move forward.”