Hornchurch charity celebrates five ‘oustanding’ inspections

Mark Halls, staff and children celebrate the're ofsted success

Mark Halls, staff and children celebrate the're ofsted success - Credit: Archant

A children’s charity which supports youngsters with disabilities has been heaped with praise by education inspectors.

Ofsted rated First Step, Tangmere Crescent, Hornchurch, as “outstanding” in every category and said all children “make the best possible progress”.

Chief executive Mark Halls told the Recorder he was delighted at the outcome, which makes it the charity’s fifth consecutive “outstanding” rating.

“It is fantastic that children with special needs and disabilities have this support,” he said.

“You couldn’t have written much better if you had written it yourself.”

Despite First Step’s success in previous inspections, Mark admitted he checked the website every day until the report was finally published.

Lead inspector Claire Nunn said the charity had “excellent links with parents and carers”, which Mark said was at the core of ensuring personal development.

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“We are looking for microscopic developments, so parents and carers get reports every day.”

He added: “You don’t get much notice for an inspection.

“We told parents that they could pass on their views to the inspector when they arrived.

“I think they almost physically picked the inspector up and carried her to the parents’ room.

“When she came out an hour and a half later, she said she had only planned to speak to them for 20 minutes.”

Further praise from inspectors highlighted the charity’s exemplary leadership and management, which the report noted has helped to create a rich and vibrant learning environment.

Now First Step staff have already begun planning how to improve even more, said Mark.

“You can’t sit back and relax,” he told the Recorder.

“We have already sat down and started planning how to keep getting better, ahead of the next inspection.

“We have a list of things to get on with!”