Sheffield Children's Services: Ofsted rates care of city's most vulnerable children 'Good' in glowing report

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It also comes with Sheffield's first ever 'Outstanding' grade for how it looks after Children In Care.

"Children in care receive an outstanding service that results in their life experiences significantly improving."

That is the verdict by Ofsted of Sheffield's Children Services in a glowing new report published today (November 3).

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Sheffield's Children's Services have been rated 'Good' overall by Ofsted, with its Children In Care provision even being praised as 'Outstanding'.Sheffield's Children's Services have been rated 'Good' overall by Ofsted, with its Children In Care provision even being praised as 'Outstanding'.
Sheffield's Children's Services have been rated 'Good' overall by Ofsted, with its Children In Care provision even being praised as 'Outstanding'. | Sheffield City Council

The watchdog came to inspect how the city steps in to help its most vulnerable children - those in care, those at risk of harm, those exploited by gangs and those with no one to turn to - and has signed it off with an overwhelmingly positive outcome.

It has seen the council's care of children graded 'Good' by Ofsted overall with Sheffield’s first-ever ‘outstanding’ grading for the experience and progress of children in care.

It comes after the council's service was rated "good but requires improvement in help and protection" in its latest inspection in 2019.

Some of the highlights by inspectors of how children in Sheffield are helped include:

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-There are lots of great services in Sheffield that help children when difficulties arise. This means when families have small problems, they get help quickly so that they do not become big ones. This means that more children can continue to live safely and happily at home with their families.

- “When children are at risk of serious harm, social workers act very quickly to make sure they are kept as safe as possible.”

- "Children who frequently go missing, and are at risk of exploitation in the community, receive determined and impactful support from specialist multiagency workers in the Amber service."

- "Inspectors saw examples of children who have been exploited by criminal gangs being helped to successfully exit the gangs through persistent social work and police disruption activities."

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- "Children aged 16 and 17 who present as homeless receive a responsive service."

- "Direct work with disabled children is thoughtfully tailored to their unique communication profiles. Disabled children with significant mental health difficulties receive skilled help from experienced advanced social workers in a dedicated specialist mental health team."

- Most children in care enjoy trusting, enduring relationships with social workers who know them well. Social workers visit children in line with their individual needs and they speak about them with pride. Sensitive and beautifully presented life-story work is helping children to understand their life histories.

Councillor Dawn Dale, chair of the Education, Children and Families committee, said the scores show the city's Children’s Services are making a 'tangible and positive difference to the lives of children and families in Sheffield'.

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She said: “This is the most welcome news for us, and I congratulate everyone who had a part to play in this achievement.

“We are delighted to be recognised for the outstanding work that we do with children in care. The Ofsted report highlights the strength of our leadership team in Education, Children and Families and our child-focused, stable, consistent, and skilled workforce. It’s an incredible achievement and I particularly thank the professionals who work to achieve high standards of service for our children and young people.”

“Our Children’s Services are supported with cross party support and this inspection recognised the high aspirations of political leaders and officers across the council to make sure that every child and young person from Sheffield has a strong sense of belonging and excellent experiences.” 

Councillor Dale added: "I am confident that we will continue to improve until all our services provide an outstanding service for children and families in the city. We are determined to do this and it’s reassuring for us to know we will be doing that based on this positive, well-received Ofsted outcome.”

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