Children's services improving, says Ofsted

7 Nov 11
Ofsted has rated more council children's services as 'good' or 'better'.

By Vivienne Russell | 8 November 2011

Ofsted has rated more council children’s services as ‘good’ or ‘better’.

Nursery children

The watchdog today published the outcomes of its annual children’s services assessments for 2011. This revealed that 25 local authorities have improved their overall performance, with 11 progressing from ‘performing adequately’ to ‘performing well’. But seven authorities have fallen back since last year.

Overall, 28 authorities are ‘performing excellently’, 71 are ‘performing well’, 33 are ‘performing adequately’ and 15 are ‘performing poorly’. Judgements for five authorities could not be published today because further inspections are due to take place.

Ofsted chief inspector Miriam Rosen said it was ‘encouraging’ that more authorities had improved. ‘These authorities are a beacon for others and must be congratulated for their achievement in supporting and helping to ensure that children are safe, happy and get the best possible start in life.’

But she added that the pattern of improvement was still ‘too variable’ and urged all authorities to aspire to the highest standards.

Ofsted identified some common factors in the best-performing authorities. These included children’s homes and special schools that were rated ‘good’ or ‘better’, most schoolchildren reaching educational standards in line with national averages for their age, and low absence rates in secondary schools.

In contrast, poorly performing authorities had too many schools and sixth forms that were no better than satisfactory and had high absence levels. Ofsted also found ‘substantial inadequacies’ in keeping children safe from harm.

David Simmons, chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, said: ‘It is most encouraging that despite the combined pressures of decreased central funding and increased demand for services the majority of councils are now rated as performing “well” or “excellently”.

‘Unfortunately, a small minority of councils are still rated as performing “poorly”, but all councils want to keep children as safe as possible and they will be working hard to improve their services. Councils are taking responsibility for their own improvement and the LGA is developing a £10m-funded programme specifically to ensure all councils are providing good services for our children and young people.’

The councils identified as poor performers are: Birmingham, Calderdale, Cheshire West and Chester, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Kent, Peterborough, Salford, Sandwell, Slough, Staffordshire, Torbay, Waltham Forest, West Sussex and Worcestershire.


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