Ofsted praise Southwark Council’s children’s services during pandemic

Josh Salisbury (02 December, 2020)

'The best possible decisions are being made about children’s care and education' said inspectors

40881Cllr Jasmine Ali, the council's schools cabinet member

Ofsted inspectors have praised the council’s children’s services for their response during the pandemic.

Inspectors scrutinised the service in September and October, with a report published this month.

While some improvements have been identified, inspectors have paid tribute to staff working to keep children safe during the Covid outbreak.

“Senior managers and staff have ensured that children and young people continue to be safeguarded,” said her Majesty’s inspector, Brenda McInerney.

“The best possible decisions are being made about children’s care and education, despite the disruption and impact of the pandemic.”

She added: “An alliance of schools, public health, family centres, social care, police, health visitors and community organisations worked closely together to provide a safety net for vulnerable children in need of services and targeted support to attend school.”

Inspectors also praised the work of schools, saying there were “many examples” of schools going the extra mile to support students.

A number of improvements were identified, including “the quality of social work practice with disabled children,” and “the timeliness and quality of planning for older children at high risk in the community.”

However, inspectors said the council had plans in place to address those issues. Cllr Jasmine Ali, (pictured) the council’s children’s and schools’ boss, said the findings showed the resilience of staff, children and teachers.

“2020 has been extraordinary in so many ways, but it’s been especially tough on children, teachers, parents and young people,” she said.

“They have all shown exceptional resilience and determination to continue with education during such tough times.

“They have been at the forefront of my mind throughout this crisis, but I am proud we have done our very best for them. This has been proven in the recent positive assessment of our response to the pandemic from Ofsted.”

The council’s youth offending team have also been praised by inspectors as examples of national best practice.

HM Inspector Yvonne McGuckian of the Inspectorate of Probation, praised how staff had phoned a youngster serving time in a young offenders’ institution weekly.

The youngster told inspectors: “The YOT, even if it is not your worker, they treat you like family, do things with you not at you. This helps me.”

Cllr Ali added: “There is of course more work to do – however the inspection reports reflect that we are moving in the right direction.”

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OfstedCllr Jasmine Ali