Kirkby children's centres

Published on: Tuesday, 04-March-2014

Kirkby Children’s Centres are celebrating after being the first group in the country to be rated 'outstanding' under the new Ofsted framework.

Inspectors heaped praise on the group of four centres, particularly for their work in targeting vulnerable families, even those who may initially be reluctant to use the centre. In fact, Ofsted said that children who had used services at the centre were better prepared for starting school than their peers, and that the commitment of staff to help families have what others take for granted was “astounding”.

A focused effort on the specific needs of families in the local area was also noted by Ofsted, who said that the children’s centres “tirelessly promote a culture of learning for children and adults”. The Inspector said that “inequalities for disabled children and children with special educational needs are reduced effectively because they receive the right support in the most appropriate way” and that “support for parents to improve their employment prospects is very good”. Meanwhile, Ofsted called the centres’ work with victims of domestic violence “exceptional”.

There was also praise for the work staff do in raising awareness about the free nursery places that the most vulnerable two-year-olds are entitled to, and said that, as a result, “almost all of them take up their nursery place and begin their journey to become ready for school.”

Summing up, Ofsted said: “Kirkby families are firmly at the heart of everything that is done in the children’s centre group. Careful thought is given to what, how and where highly effective activities or services are delivered. Managers and staff are constantly looking for ways to improve their services so that the opportunities and life chances of families can be enhanced.

The report also said: “The centre group buildings are a haven for families. They are resourced with high quality equipment and furniture. The most valuable resource, however, is the staff team. The entire team is driven to provide the very best for the families they work with, whatever their level of contact with families.”

Cllr Graham Wright, Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services, said: “The Ofsted report makes fantastic reading, and the ‘Outstanding’ rating is thoroughly deserved.

“It is clear to anyone who has visited the centres that there is an incredible level of commitment and dedication to improving the lives of local families.

“I know that the centres are delighted with their Ofsted report, but despite this success – and being the first children’s centre group in the country to achieve an ‘Outstanding’ report under the new inspection criteria – they are absolutely committed to continuing to improve.”

For more information about Kirkby Children’s Centres please call 0151 443 3257.

You can read the report in full on Ofsted's website.