Celebrations as centre is given the thumbs-up

STAFF, parents and families at a children’s centre in Eastbourne have been celebrating a positive thumbs up from Government inspectors.

Inspectors from Ofsted have rated East Sussex County Council’s Willingdon Trees Children’s Centre as “good” and have praised the services it provides for the local community.

The centre, the largest in Eastbourne, is one of a group of six such centres in the town and a wider network of 35 children’s centres developed across East Sussex by the County Council.

It is the first of the council’s centres to have been inspected by Ofsted.

Children’s centres provide services to families of children aged up to five, tailored to the needs of individual communities.

The Willingdon Trees Centre provides a wide range of services to support young families including support work, crèche and drop-in facilities, workshops and training for parents and carers, support for children with special educational needs and disabilities, family outreach work, training opportunities, and visiting links with health and employment services.

In its findings following the inspection, Ofsted said the centre in Magnolia Drive was ‘passionate about its work’ and had worked hard to develop services that met the different and changing needs of those using the centre.

There was further praise for the enthusiasm, energy, openness and friendliness of staff who work in a closely knit and cohesive team which is efficiently led ‘with enthusiasm and conviction’.

The centre received an overall grading of good and was marked as good in every area.

However, Ofsted said it was outstanding in ‘the quality of care, guidance and support offered to users within the centre and the wider community’.

The County Council was also praised by Ofsted which said it provided the centre with ‘good and steadfast support’.

In identifying areas for improvement, the inspectors recommended the centre should strengthen its links with Oakwood Primary school so that both settings work closely together to improve children’s achievement, especially in relation to their language and literacy skills and in improving their attendance.