Following a recent three-week long inspection, the latest Ofsted report published today has seen children’s services in Slough awarded an overall rating of ‘requires improvement to be good’, the same grading as 2019. With one area - the impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families - rated ‘inadequate’.
The leadership teams at both Slough Children First (SCF) and the council are working together to produce robust plans to ensure we respond to areas highlighted in the report.
The inspection, which took place between 23 January and 3 February, found the support received by children in Slough who need help, care, and protection continues to require improvement.
The company (SCF) was praised for its early help services which make “a significant and positive difference to children’s lives.” Some recommendations were made to speed up the access to these services which managers are already working on.
The company’s Virtual School, which works to ensure Slough’s children in care reach their potential, was highlighted as a success, with inspectors praising the hard work of staff which has resulted in children making better academic progress than their peers in care nationally.
Care leavers were reported to benefit from the dedication of their personal advisers (PAs) and the support they have received when needed.
The report also recognises the challenges the council and company has faced since the pandemic, including the councils’ financial issues and changes in workforce and leadership.
Tony Hunter, Chair of the SCF board, said: “Our Ofsted findings show we still have a lot to do at practice, operational management and strategic leadership levels to ensure consistent quality and impact in the care and support we provide for Slough’s children and families. However, there are a number of areas of good practice that have been highlighted, and I have seen for myself the energy and determination by our staff at all roles and levels. I remain proud to be chair of the SCF board, and look forward to working with everyone in SCF, the council and wider partners to achieve our improvement ambitions.”
Councillor Christine Hulme, lead member for children’s services, lifelong learning, and skills, said: “The overall Ofsted rating for children’s services has remained the same and we have clear direction on what work needs to be undertaken, and is already underway to achieve a ‘good’ rating. It’s important to recognise the hard work and dedication of all of our staff within children’s services, who often are dealing with very difficult circumstances, who try their very best for the children and young people of our borough.”
Sue Butcher, Executive Director People (Children's) and Chief Executive of Slough Children First, said: “Thank you to the whole staff group for their passion in working to improve outcomes for Slough's vulnerable children and their families. I am confident that we will make improvements with pace over the coming months.”
The company and council will continue to work together, alongside other partners, to continue to develop its children’s services.