Considerable improvements across children’s services in Leeds over the past year have been recognised in the latest annual performance assessment published today (Tuesday 8th November) by government inspectors.
Ofsted’s Annual Performance Assessment for 2010/11 rates Leeds City Council’s children’s services as performing ‘adequately’, an improvement from 2010 when Leeds was rated as ‘performs poorly’.
The rating is based on performance and inspections across the whole range of children’s services in Leeds, including schools, children’s centres, services for vulnerable children and the youth offending service. Ofsted has highlighted that the majority of children’s services they have inspected are good or better, but have also drawn attention to areas where further improvement is needed.
This annual assessment builds on the improvements highlighted in several government inspections carried out over the past year. These include an unannounced inspection of child protection arrangements which took place in January and highlighted ‘remarkable and impressive’ improvements and a re-inspection of safeguarding services in October that judged Leeds as having good capacity to keep improving.
This year’s assessment highlights that ‘The majority of services, settings and institutions inspected by Ofsted are good or better. The very large majority of provision supports children and young people well in staying say and the large majority helps them to enjoy their learning’.
It goes on to say that Leeds children’s service’s strengths include:
• arrangements to ensure children are safeguarded are now secure;
• leadership and management were judged to be good;
• most early years and childcare provision is good or better, and;
• the council has been effective in bringing about improvements in schools previously not performing well.
Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services said:
“It is great news that Ofsted has recognised the significant improvements made across children’s services in Leeds over the past year, which is thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff and managers.
“We are proud of what has been achieved, but equally we’re not satisfied with being adequate and want to keep improving. An important part of doing that will be to give children and young people in Leeds a stronger voice. We want ensure they have every possible opportunity to help shape the future direction of our services as we head towards our goal of becoming a Child Friendly City.
”Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services said:
“This rating is further evidence that children’s services in Leeds are moving in the right direction, it builds on several other positive inspections this year that show the improvements staff have made in keeping our children and young people safe and giving them the skills and support they need to achieve their goals.
The annual assessment looks across the full range of services that Ofsted inspect so it is particularly pleasing that they have highlighted good progress in many different areas of our work.
“We know we have more to do and we’re continuing to implement some important changes across the city so we can respond more effectively to the needs of children and families. This will enable us to address the areas for further development highlighted in the assessment.”
Amongst the children’s services and settings inspected by Ofsted in Leeds this year there have been some extremely positive outcomes, including outstanding ratings for Robin Hood Primary School, Pudsey Primrose Hill Primary School and Wigton Moor Primary School, as well as for Chapeltown Children’s Centre and Seacroft Children’s Centre. The council’s fostering and adoption services were rated as ‘good’ earlier this year and the Youth Offending service received very strong feedback.
The annual assessment also acknowledges that the very large majority of special schools in Leeds are good or better. It recognises that the number of young people from low-income families achieving qualifications at age 16 and 19 has improved well, which was an area for development in last year’s assessment.