Teenager working on car engine

Positive futures for young people leaving care

Young people leaving care are well prepared for the future and supported in all aspects of their lives, according to the latest Ofsted report on Reading’s Children’s Services.

Inspectors found that young people leaving care are receiving overall improving services from the Council, during their two day visit earlier this summer.

Each monitoring visit by Ofsted inspectors focuses on a specific area of Children’s Services and ‘young people leaving care’ was the subject of their latest inspection on 31st July and 1st August.

It was the seventh Ofsted monitoring visit since the department was judged inadequate following a full inspection in June 2016.

The Ofsted letter, published today, says detailed attention is paid to the individual needs and circumstances of young people preparing for their transition towards independent living. Young people aged 16 and 17 are carefully prepared for leaving care through closely planned joint work between social workers and leaving care advisers (LCAs).

Young people aged between 18 and 25 are supported well in all aspects of their lives by skilled and experienced LCAs.

Inspectors say:

“Sustained and continued efforts mean that no young people are left without dedicated support, even when they are resistant to being helped and difficult to engage.”

The report continues: “A strong intent to build trusting, constructive and continuous professional relationships with young people who have left care permeates the work of social workers and LCAs.”

Line managers are also praised for offering helpful and supportive advice and direction to staff.

The Ofsted letter says:

“Direct work with young people leaving care is a strength. LCAs and social workers make determined efforts to build and maintain purposeful relationships with young people.

“These strong professional attachments influence many young people to make progress with their education, employment and training (EET), and to benefit from living in suitable, supported, semi-independent housing settings.”

Regular meetings are held between involved partners, closely tracking young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

The report noted constructive partnership and multi-agency working to help reduce risks to vulnerable young people.

Inspectors also found that young people who arrive as unaccompanied asylum seekers are carefully supported and are found accommodation suitable to their needs.

LCAs and social workers told inspectors they felt well supported and guided in their direct work by managers who are easily available, knowledgeable and experienced.

Cllr Liz Terry, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Children’s Services, said:

“I am pleased to see the commitment of social workers and leaving care advisers are recognised in this latest Ofsted monitoring report.

“Inspectors found there is a good level of guidance and support for young people in Reading who are leaving care and embarking on their adult lives. This is helping them to move on and take advantage of further education, employment and training opportunities.

“There are also some areas of improvement identified by inspectors which the team are already working hard to address.”

Notes to editors

The Ofsted monitoring report can be found at:  https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/reading

Teddy bear on grass

Packed summer of fun across Reading

Play Days, a teddy bears’ picnic in the park, messy play and a special rhymetime in the Abbey Ruins, are among the fun range of activities the Council is laying on for kids over the summer holidays.

Children’s Centres across the borough are hosting events to keep youngsters occupied through the summer break. The centres will be open throughout the summer holiday offering activities from 25th July to 10th September 2018.

The holiday programme across Reading’s Children’s Centres includes messy play, make & take crafts, bumps & babies, wet play, rhymetimes and storytimes. There is a teddy bears’ picnic at Prospect Park to look forward to on 10th August. Details of all the summer programmes at Reading’s Children’s Centres can be found at: servicesguide.reading.gov.uk.

Reading Play run three holiday clubs in Reading, at Katesgrove (Waterloo Meadows), Caversham (The Hill) and South Reading (Green Park).

Over the summer, the Reading Play team has some exciting fun days on offer at the Outpost (located next to Rivermead) including favourites like Owen’s Animals – animal handling sessions, crazy golf, falconry, circus skills, archery, laser guns, soft play and more. Activities run every day from Monday 30th July until Friday 17th August. Later in the summer holiday they will be at Prospect Park, from 24th until 31st t August. To find out more about upcoming activities visit: readingplay.co.uk

Reading Library Service is holding a special rhymetime in the Abbey Ruins on Friday 27th July. Staff from Reading Libraries and the ever popular Teddies Music Club, are hosting the special rhymetime in the newly opened Abbey Ruins, between 10am and 12pm, with singing starting at 10.30am.

As well as offering their ever popular library rhymetimes and storytimes, Reading Libraries are also calling for children to sign up to read six books this summer as part of Mischief Makers – the Beano themed Summer Reading Challenge 2018. Children are challenged to borrow and read at least six books over the holidays, and are rewarded for each book read. reading.gov.uk/libraries

Reading Museum is hosting events throughout the summer at the main museum and the newly renovated Abbey Gateway and the Abbey Ruins. There are a number of exciting craft sessions, including crown making, kite making and a bug club craft workshop for families. Other activities include a medieval animal trail and a number of family friendly tours. The museum also offer free story time sessions for tots every Wednesday at 10.30am. Visit  readingmuseum.org.uk/museum/whats-on

Councillor Liz Terry, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Children’s Services, said:

“We know it can be difficult to find affordable ways to keep kids occupied through the long summer break but we hope our programme of events this summer offers something for everyone.

“The Council’s Children’s Centres offer a fantastic range of activities for families and don’t forget to check out what’s on at Reading Museum, Reading Library Service and Reading Play, as they all have a great range of activities for kids this summer.  Whilst the weather so nice, why not also take advantage of all the beautiful parks and open spaces across the borough.”

For families looking to get out and about, there are many beautiful parks and gardens in Reading with play areas, a paddling pool and space to play games and not forgetting all the activities on offer at Reading’s RSL Centres at Meadway, Palmer Park and South Reading; including swim lessons, pool inflatable sessions, RFC Soccer Sessions and lots more. Visit reading.gov.uk/parks and readingleisure.co.uk for more information.

Teenager/young man looking at notice board

A-level results 2018

The number of pupils achieving the highest A-level grades increased in Reading this year, according to provisional figures collated by the Council.

Sixty-two percent of students achieved A*–B across the borough compared with 57 per cent last year.

The number of young people achieving A*–C passes was 77 per cent compared with 78 per cent in 2017 and the number passing A*–E was 94 per cent compared with 98 per cent last year.

Cllr Ashley Pearce, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Education, said:

“Students across Reading continue to achieve excellent results in their A level exams, with increases in the top grades achieved across many of our schools, alongside more pupils sitting these tougher exams. Every one of our schools is striving year on year for improvements in exam performance against the backdrop of lower funding from central Government and a difficult recruitment arena.

“Every student’s successful result is the culmination of years of hard work from themselves, their teachers and their parents. Everyone involved is a vital part of the school system and each should be congratulated. Overall results and percentages tend to be looked at on days like this, but it is the importance of these results to each individual student that really counts and the difference they can make to these young people’s lives.”