Cressingham children’s home remains ‘Outstanding’

A Reading children’s home run by Brighter Futures for Children has retained its ‘Outstanding’ rating following a recent full Ofsted inspection.

Cressingham provides short breaks for up to six children at a time who have learning or physical disabilities, sensory impairments, or a combination of these.

The inspector awarded an ‘Outstanding’ rating in the three key areas of: Overall experiences and progress of children and young people, how well children and young people are helped and protected and the effectiveness of leaders and managers.

The report published says Cressingham provides highly effective services that consistently exceed the standard of good. It adds that the actions of the children’s home contribute to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences for children and young people who need help, protection and care.

Staff at the home are recognised for providing highly personalised and well-planned care that meets children’s individual needs particularly well. As a result, children enjoy an active and stimulating experience during their stay, which helps them to achieve outstanding outcomes.

The report says staff liaise with schools to help them consistently meet children’s needs and reach their potential. It adds: “This excellent partnership between the home, school, parents and specialist health professionals contributes to the progress that children make.”

There is also a strong staff focus on developing children’s independence skills which helps their confidence and self-esteem grow.

The inspector says children have excellent relationships with staff at the home who are attuned to each child’s preferred communication methods. This includes reading their behaviours and body language, which allows children to successfully communicate their wishes and feelings.

Staff also have an excellent understanding of children’s vulnerabilities and they follow clear and detailed risk management strategies to provide safe and competent care for the children, says the report.

The inspector comments that the highly committed and motivated staff team is effectively led by an experienced and qualified registered manager who uses their individual skills and experiences to best advantage.

New staff receive individually tailored induction and development processes that allow them to settle into their role confidently and existing team members provide an added layer of guidance and support.

Ofsted carried out the unannounced inspection on 20 and 21 July.

Di Smith, Board Chair of Brighter Futures for Children, said: “It is a pleasure to read the Ofsted inspector’s report on their visit to Cressingham children’s home in Reading. It captures the enormous level of commitment and care shown by staff.

“We are very proud of our outstanding team at Cressingham and I would like to congratulate them on maintaining the very highest standards of care and support for the children and young people who stay with them.”

Cllr Liz Terry, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Children’s Services, said: “Well done to everyone at Cressingham children’s home for retaining their ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating.

“The team does a superb job of liaising with parents and fellow professionals to gain a clear understanding of the children they are caring for. Their attention to detail and caring attitude clearly makes it a highly enjoyable and fulfilling experience for the children and young people who stay at Cressingham.”

The full Ofsted report is available to view at: Cressingham was previously rated ‘Outstanding’ following an Ofsted inspection in December 2019.

The Lodge nursery rated ‘Good’

A nursery run by Brighter Futures for Children has been judged ‘Good’ following a full Ofsted inspection.

The Lodge, at Southcote Children’s Centre, provides full day care for up to 42 children aged two to four-years-old.

The inspector awarded a ‘Good’ rating in all the key areas of: quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development and leadership and management.

The report says days are structured to enable children to spend a significant amount of time outdoors and that they show excitement as they explore with their friends. Children access activities which spark their imagination and they are confident to follow their own interests.

Children are familiar with the daily routines, such as washing their hands on arrival, and staff sensitively encourage them to understand the importance of personal hygiene routines, the inspector says.

All children were found to be making good progress in their learning, and parents commented that their young ones loved attending the nursery and were progressing well.

The report highlights that support for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities and for disadvantaged children is a particular strength of the nursery.

It continues: “All children enjoy the wide variety of experiences on offer and make good progress from their developmental starting points.”

The inspector notes that children enjoy playing in a safe and secure environment and that daily checks are carried out to ensure resources and equipment are in good condition.

Recommendations to further improve the nursery include; helping parents to become more actively involved in their children’s learning at home and to ensure children of all abilities are sufficiently challenged.

Di Smith, Board Chair of Brighter Futures for Children, said: “I am delighted to read of the very positive findings from the Ofsted inspection of The Lodge. It is encouraging to hear that the children make good progress and that they show such excitement and imagination in their learning.

“Congratulations to all the staff who work so hard to ensure children learn and develop in such interesting and inspiring ways.”

Cllr Ashley Pearce, Lead Councillor for Education, said: “Well done to everyone at The Lodge for providing such a fun and caring environment for all children who attend.

“This is a vital stage of a young child’s growth and development and I am proud we have such good provision for Reading’s families.”

The inspection took place on 16 August and the full Ofsted report can be found on their website here

Successful bid to improve support for disadvantaged families

Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) has successfully bid for government funding to develop a programme which will improve services for families in Reading and beyond.

Around £915,000 has been awarded to BFfC by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) from the Local Data Accelerator Fund.

The bid was submitted in collaboration with West Berkshire Council, Wokingham Borough Council, Thames Valley Police, Portsmouth City Council, Solent NHS, Clinical Commissioning Group and the Department for Work & Pensions West Berkshire Cluster, and supported by Reading Borough Council.

The funding will allow BFfC to develop a system which brings together data to enable social care, police and health professionals to have a joined-up approach to supporting disadvantaged families. The initiative forms part of the government’s Supporting Families programme.

BFfC had already successfully set up a data-hub in Reading which gave social care practitioners easier access to information about families and allowed them to establish the families’ current and future needs and take a more trauma informed approach.

It also allows professionals to track the progress of families and highlights where additional support may be needed to prevent needs from escalating.

The project has helped BFfC become one of the top performers in the national Supporting Families programme.

Other local authorities have been keen to mirror the success of the Reading Data Hub and this funding will allow BFfC and its partners to develop the scheme and roll it out to other council areas.

Di Smith, Board Chair of Brighter Futures for Children, said: “I am delighted that Brighter Futures for Children has been awarded this funding and would like to thank the MHCLG, our partners and everyone else involved in the bid.

“The programme brings all the information held on families together in one place to give professionals an overview of each family’s situation. It reduces the time spent looking through reports and spreadsheets and allows social workers to spend more time visiting the families they are supporting.”

Cllr Liz Terry, Reading Borough Council's Lead Councillor for Children’s Services, said: “Congratulations to Brighter Futures for Children on their successful bid for this funding which will help improve outcomes for Reading’s children and their families.

“I am proud that this innovative work, which started in Reading, will go on to benefit families in our neighbouring council areas and potentially other local authorities across the country.

“Closer working between our social care team and partner agencies makes complete sense and I look forward to this project bringing professionals even closer together for the benefit of disadvantaged families.”

The government press release can be found here.