Havering Council goes top of the class for its children’s services

HAVERING has good schools, fewer obese teenagers, high standards of child protection and less bullying than other parts of the country.

This is just some of the glowing praise from Government inspectors this week as they gave the borough the top grade for its children’s services.

However, assessors also noted there was a worrying increase in teenage pregnancies in the borough, and that re-offending by young people in Havering had increased and remains worse than similar areas.

In its annual inspection, Ofsted rated Havering Council’s Children’s Services as “performs excellently” – the highest ranking that can be granted and marks an improvement from “performs well” awarded last year.

Inspectors visited a number of sites and services, from primary schools to safeguarding services, and said that the majority rated as good or better.

In particular inspectors highlighted the strong examination results achieved by students at primary and secondary schools.

“The achievement of children and young people in Havering is very high throughout the time they are at nursery and school,” Juliet Winstanley, divisional manager of Ofsted’s Children’s Services Assessment, said.

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However, it was noted that work needed to be carried out to improve secondary schools so that more achieved an overall good or better rating.

The council was praised for its safeguarding processes, where staff morale was high and there was a strong commitment to improving services.

Assessors highlighted that relatively low numbers of children were admitted to hospital because they had been injured, either accidentally or deliberately.

In addition, fewer children reported that they had been bullied than in similar areas in the rest of England.

Other observations included the improved attendance at primary and secondary schools, a reduction in obesity in 11-year-old children - though not in five-year-olds - and activities to raise awareness of young people of the consequences of anti-social behaviour.

Cllr Paul Rochford, cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: “We are very proud of the services that we offer to children and young people in the borough and I am delighted that these have been recognised by Ofsted.

“Along with the inspectors we recognise that there is more work we need to do in some areas and will be working with our partners to address these issues. I am especially pleased that the work we have done to improve safeguarding, and the academic achievements of our children, had special recognition.