Bushey children's play centres told to improve

Watford Observer: Bushey children's play centres told to improve Bushey children's play centres told to improve

Two children’s centres run by a charitable trust have been told they need to improve following their latest Ofsted inspection.

Hertsmere Leisure has been told they need to improve their play centres for children under five at Bushey Mill and The Redding.

Ofsted inspectors visited the centres, which had not previously been inspected, in February and said they "required improvement".

Inspectors said the children’s centre group is not good because not enough families from target groups are accessing the centres’ services.

The report said the monitoring of case files by centre leaders is not robust enough and not enough boys and children who are eligible for free school meals in the Bushey Mill area are ready for school.

In addition, it was noted that not enough unemployed parents and lone parents attend adult learning programmes and as a result, do not receive sufficient help to enable them to return to training and employment.

The Bushey Children’s Centre group has been run by Hertsmere Leisure on behalf of the local authority since 2009. The group are funded by Surestart, which is a Government initiative introduced to improve childcare with an emphasis on outreach and community development.

The children’s group delivers services for children and families from both the centres and from community venues, including Bushey Library, Kings George recreation ground, Hartspring Community Centre, St Paul’s Church Hall, St James Church Hall, Bushey Grove Leisure Centre and Bushey Community Centre.

The Ofsted inspectors praised leaders, staff and the advisory board for being enthusiastic and having high aspirations for the centres.

The centre was also praised for worked successfully with the local traveller community, with 25 out of 30 children now access early years provision in the last year.

In addition, the report said staff develop good relationships with parents and gain their trust. As a result, families in most need of support, including those experiencing domestic violence receive the support they need to make positive changes in their lives.

The centres serve an area with mixed levels of deprivation, with Otterspool and the Farrington Estate most deprived.

A number of improvements were recommended by inspectors including making sure what the centre did was properly monitored, trying harder to get more poorer families making use of the services and continuing to work harder in partnership with those who provide services for very young children.

The Radlett and Park Street Group were also inspected by Ofsted and received a ‘good’, with the quality of children’s activities praised.

Liz Applin, children’s centres director at the trust, said: "We are extremely pleased with the Ofsted reports for our centres. We have work to do in Bushey and had identified many of the recommendations already. We have made a very positive start to responding to Ofsted’s recommendations. As an organisation we are committed to continually reviewing and developing to ensure that we are offering the best possible service to local families."

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