Doncaster children’s centre ‘inadequate’, say Ofsted

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A Doncaster children’s centre has been told it is ‘inadequate’ following an inspection by the education experts.

Moorends Children’s Centre, Marshland Road, has been placed in special measures after receiving the lowest possible overall rating following the latest inspection by government education watchdog Ofsted in May.

The report said “The centre does not engage enough families in the area. Staff do not know how many families from those most in need are regularly accessing and benefiting from centre services.”

Inspectors also slammed leadership and management,saying that, although it was improving, it was still ‘weak’.

Lead inspector Janet Stacey also expressed concerns about security at the centre, which is also known as the Hedgerow Children’s Centre.

She said: “While risk assessments are in place, these do not cover the potential risk of a child leaving the building unescorted.”

The damning inspection means standards at the centre have declined – when last inspected, in June 2010, it was found to require improvement, the third of the four ratings.

In the latest assessment, access to services by young children and families, quality of practices and services and the leadership, governance and management were all ranked as inadequate.

However, inspectors did have some praise for the leadership team.

The report said: “The new leadership team has a realistic understanding of the centre’s weaknesses and is keen to address these.”

The centre was given a list of things it must do in order to improve, including increasing the number of families using the centre and putting in place parenting programmes.

Staff have also been asked to make voluntary roles available for adults and to ensure a robust system is in place to reduce the risk of children leaving the building unaccompanied.

Jo Moxon, Doncaster Council interim director of children’s services, said: “We are disappointed by the outcome of the Ofsted inspection visit, although, it is encouraging the report makes reference to the new leadership team that is now in place and addressing the areas for improvement.

“With support from our committed staff, as well as partners, we are confident that the centre will develop and deliver a more effective service for local children and families.”

No one from the centre was available to comment.