26/10/2012 - Permalink

Children’s centre rated good

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A Shropshire Council Sure Start children’s centre in Shrewsbury has been judged as “good” by Government inspectors, who applauded the ways it is “improving the lives of children and their families”. 

In a report published this month, Ofsted said Shropshire Council’s Central Shropshire South Sure Start Children’s Centre provides “a full range of universal and targeted services which meet the needs of families well” and graded its partnership working as “outstanding”. 

The centre’s main site is next to Meole Brace CE Primary School.  It is one of 13 children’s centre areas in Shropshire which offer a variety of services for families with young children. 

Inspectors commended the centre for supporting “a rapid improvement in children’s levels of ability when they start school” and demonstrating “excellent partnership work between health professionals and centre support workers”.  The report said that “this is characterised by very sensitive and thoughtful support” for families, particularly those who are vulnerable. 

Ofsted also highlighted how the centre “benefits from good leadership and an accurate recognition of its strengths and areas for development”.  Inspectors commented that the centre has a “strong and well-established team” who work effectively with partners to find “innovative solutions to the challenge of meeting the needs of vulnerable families”. 

The centre’s capacity for improvement was also rated as good, with inspectors suggesting areas such as continuing to improve engagement with families as part of its “clear plan for further developing services”. 

Julie Duncan, children’s centre manager, said:

“This report is a credit to everyone involved with the centre.  We are overjoyed to see Ofsted’s comments that families feel safe and welcomed at the centre.” 

Ann Hartley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health and well-being, said:

“This is a great report for everyone involved with the centre, highlighting its ‘continuous record of improvement in outcomes for children since its opening’. 

“Our children’s centre staff work extremely hard to improve opportunities for families with young children – and it is wonderful that this commitment has been recognised. 

“They should be extremely proud of the inspectors’ findings that parents really value the services and that they are a ‘dedicated team’ making a difference to people’s lives. 

“I would encourage anyone interested in finding out more about children’s centres and how the work outlined in the report could help them, to contact the team.” 

Liz Parsons, a local Shropshire councillor for Bayston Hill, Column and Sutton, added:

“Julie Duncan and her team are to be congratulated on the very positive report and praise from Ofsted.  The work done by the centre is vitally important for families, especially at a time when many feel under increased pressure.” 

Inspectors visited the centre on 19 and 20 September 2012. 

For more information on the Central Shropshire South Children’s Centre which covers the Meole and Bayston Hill areas, and other children’s centres in the Shrewsbury area, contact manager Julie Duncan on 01743 452400

Further information 

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills:  http://www.ofsted.gov.uk 

For more details about children’s centres go to shropshire.gov.uk/childrenscentres

To see the report click here.