A children’s centre has become the first in the city to be judged as outstanding by government inspectors.
The Crescent Children’s Centre in Meir, run by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, has been given the glowing accolade by Ofsted. It means that The Crescent site is now only the second in the entire country to be home to a primary school, children’s centre and pre-school nursery that are all designated ‘outstanding’ after separate Ofsted inspections.
The centre was subjected to a rigorous two-day inspection in November, during which inspectors looked at all aspects of its work. They spoke to staff, parents, carers, volunteers, local schools, members of the centre’s advisory board and partners including an adult training organisation and a voluntary organisation.
The inspectors observed the centre’s work and looked at a range of relevant documents to find evidence of the impact it has on the children and families it serves. This included assessing how the centre helped parents, prospective parents and young children to access services, and made sure they benefited from the services offered; and how the centre improved the wellbeing of young children.
Out if 18 areas inspected, The Crescent was judged ‘outstanding’ in 17 and ‘good’ in one.
Councillor Debra Gratton, cabinet member for children’s services, said:
This is one of the most glowing Ofsted inspections I have ever read, and it is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the centre its staff, parents and volunteers that they have achieved such a fabulous report. Ofsted is only beginning to start inspecting children’s centres in the same way it does schools, and The Crescent has set the benchmark for others to follow. To have the children’s centre, Crescent Primary School and The Crescent Pre-School Nursery all on the same site, delivering outstanding services, is a credit to the city and shows parents and families that their children are in good hands.
The detailed 10-page Ofsted report praised the centre’s strong leadership and management, its success in engaging parents in the Meir area and described the effect its services have on families as ‘excellent’ and ‘outstanding’.
The report said parents and carers had high levels of understanding regarding the development of their child. The report described the centre’s processes for business planning and service delivery as ‘exemplary’, that parents and carers ‘feel they are listened to, respected and not judged’, that safeguarding is ‘a high priority and embedded exceptionally well in all systems’, and that children with disabilities are ‘particularly well-supported’. The report also said that outreach services have improved accessibility of hard to reach groups and that there has been an increase in the registration of families with different nationalities.
Inspectors told parents
You are rightly very proud of your centre as it is outstanding in almost everything it does. The way the centre works with its partners is particularly impressive. It has meant they reach and support all of you in a way that has given you the skills and confidence to support your children in their learning as well as contribute to improvements in the centre. The people in charge of running your centre are doing an excellent job. They are continually increasing their reach to target groups such as fathers. We have every confidence that they will continue to carry on improving the quality of services.
Tracy Jackson OBE, locality manager for children’s centres in the south of the city, including The Crescent, said
We are delighted with the Ofsted inspectors’ endorsements and comments. The ‘outstanding’ status is a tribute to the hard work of the staff, parents and volunteers. It was a detailed inspection which looked at everything we do and I am delighted that the findings clearly recognise the difference the centre is making to children and families.
Children’s centres were established to bridge the attainment gap for the most disadvantaged children. Ofsted assess the leadership and management of a centre and make sure it is having an impact and providing the right level of support for families.
This outstanding result, and the passion and knowledge our parents showed when talking to inspectors, shows we are making a difference and giving the children of Meir a better start in life.
Last year staff at The Crescent were named the UK Children’s Centre Team of the Year by national charity Together for Children.
Parent Katrina Danyiova said
The Crescent Children’s Centre has helped me with my language and cared for my children while I have been doing the English for speakers of other languages course. The centre has also helped my daughter by supporting her special needs.
Parent Claire Lawrence added
The centre has helped my three-year-old son with his speech and language transition into nursery school. Community development work has helped me with my confidence through volunteering.