Tuesday, 01 December 2015

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Cumbrian children’s centre to build on strengths

A director of a children’s centre says changes will be made to build on its strengths after Ofsted inspectors told it to improve.

Distington Sure Start Children’s Centre – based at Great Clifton’s Derwent Vale School – was visited by inspectors last month.

A report into their findings has revealed that out of three areas inspected at the centre, all were deemed to require improvements.

John Egan, operational director of children’s services at Action for Children in Cumbria, which runs the centre, said that the children and families that the centre supports are the “absolute priority”.

“We take the results of Ofsted’s inspection very seriously and recognise that improvements are required,” he said.

Included in the report by the education watchdog were strengths, which the centre hopes to build on.

Mr Egan those included: “Our motivated, committed and enthusiastic staff and how reducing the risk of harm to children is deeply embedded in the centre’s work.”

“We will build on this by making the necessary changes as quickly as possible. We are working closely with Cumbria County Council to ensure we provide the best possible support to local families.”

Since being established in 2010, the centre has moved premises and lost a key member of staff. It is currently located at Little Clifton school, but its future there is also uncertain.

It works mainly with children who are living in low-income households, families on benefits, lone parents, disabled children and those with special educational needs as well as other vulnerable youngsters.

In the report it says that the rate of children’s progress is improving year on year and while this is promising, the centre has yet to look at ways in which it can work together with schools to ensure youngsters are well-prepared to start.

Leadership, management and governance are not robust as the centre’s action plan does not contain precise and challenging outcome and performance measures.

However, parents demonstrate good levels of satisfaction with the centre, especially with the supportive and helpful staff.


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