Six months ago, after the last OFSTED Report into safeguarding, which slammed Salford City Council's Children's Services as "inadequate", Council Leader, John Merry, told the Salford Star…
"We now have a new leadership team in place which is driving through the necessary improvements and I have asked for inspectors to come back in six months to ascertain what progress we have made."
Six months later and the OFSTED inspectors haven't changed their minds, finding "insufficient progress in tackling the weaknesses identified in the earlier unannounced inspection of front-line child protection services."
The Report does add that "The newly-established senior management team was taking rigorous steps to identify the challenges and had responded positively to issues raised during the inspection" but then goes on to give Salford Council's Children's Services a rating of 1, the lowest score possible… "performs poorly"
The OFSTED Assessment adds:
• that 16 year olds in Salford from poorer backgrounds and those with special educational needs do less well than others of the same age. And that the gap is widening.
• that "fewer 19 year olds than in similar areas have five good GCSE passes or the equivalent".
• that almost a third of children who responded to a recent survey say they have been bullied
• that "the proportions of special education needs statements issued on time are lower than the averages nationally".
• half of Salford's primary schools are merely rated "adequate"
There are some good points too…
• "more children and young people being satisfied with local parks and play areas; and more of them taking part in physical activities and sport."
• "For the last five years, the achievement of three to five year-olds has been above the averages for similar areas."
• "At secondary level, the large majority of schools have good or better behaviour and persistent absence is far lower than in similar areas."
• "The majority of secondary schools are good or better at helping young people develop the knowledge and skills necessary to gain a job."
• That on safeguarding "further progress has been made through the establishment of an improvement board, with an independent chair reporting to Ministers, and the enlisting of peer support and advice from another local authority"
The OFSTED Assessment makes the following recommendations:
* Improve safeguarding services.
* Raise the attainment of 16-year-olds who receive free school meals, or
who have special educational needs, so that they perform as well as
others of the same age
* Increase the number of 19-year-olds, especially those from low-income
families, who have five good GCSE passes or the equivalent.
* Improve primary schools, so that more of them are good or better.
* Improve the effectiveness of childminders and child carers.
For full report click here
See previous Salford Star features on Safeguarding here and here