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Hampstead Norreys club rated "Inadequate" by Ofsted

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Education watchdog says that children's safety was compromised

AN AFTER school club for children in Hampstead Norreys was found to have compromised children’s safety after being deemed ‘inadequate’ by the education watchdog.

Ofsted’s inspection of the Acorn’s out of school club last month found that the facilities had sunk from being rated ‘good’ in 2010, to no longer meeting the legal requirements for an early years setting.

The report found a range of failings at the centre for children aged between four and 11, which has space for 24 places, and at the time of the inspection seven children on the roll, and has operated out of the Hampstead Norreys Village Hall for the last 10 years.

Inspectors found that, while meeting the needs of children was found to only require improvement, both the contribution of early year’s provision to the well-being of the children and leadership and management were inadequate.

The report said: “Children’s safety is not assured, as not all staff working with them have a Disclosure and Barring Service check in place.

“This means that the committee cannot be sure that these persons working with the children are suitable to do so.

“Furthermore, children’s safety is compromised as the staff fail to maintain accurate daily attendance registers.”

Inspectors found that recruitment procedures were “not robustly implemented” and that this “compromises children’s safety and breaches the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage and associated Childcare Register.”

The report added: “Although staff have an awareness of child protection, there is no policy implemented regarding the safe use of mobile telephones in this setting, as required.”

The leadership and management of the club was also criticised by the inspector, who said: “Management does not make good use of their reflections on their practice. They do not currently implement regular staff support, training and supervision.

“This means that staff have not received any recent training, induction or supervision to monitor and guide their practice and promote their professional development.”

Lastly, children are not always provided an area where they can concentrate, complete homework, or relax, according to the report.

There was some positive appraisal, however, and the inspection noted that children were “generally happy and engaged well in a range of activities that promote their learning and support their interests.

“Staff provide children with a range of healthy and nutritious snacks, which they enjoy.”

The report also said that staff support the children well and that there are firm relationships between staff and children, who have a range of toys and resources available that promotes their interests and learning.

Ofsted has now demanded that the club provides relevant documentation for committee members and complete suitability checks for all staff, including Disclosure and Barring Service checks.

The school must also make sure that attendance is recorded correctly and put arrangements in place to ensure staff know their roles and responsibilities.

In response to the inspection, Acorns committee member Phaedra Binns said: “While aspects of the care were praised, it was identified that many of our policies and procedures were out of date, so we achieved an overall grading of ‘inadequate’, much to our disappointment.

“The policies and procedures have now been fully updated with a raft of activity taking place behind them.

“We hope Ofsted will be able to return before the end of the year to reassess the club and the improvements that have been made.”

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