Crisis tactics praised

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A SHEFFIELD children’s centre has been rated as effective at meeting the needs of families - and supporting them extremely well in times of crisis.

Inspectors found the Fox Hill and Grenoside Centre was giving a satisfactory service overall - the third highest rating out of four.

But staff were criticised for not setting themselves targets to tackle some of the improvements needed, but the inspection team felt there was capacity for sustained improvement.

The centre was praised for being good at promoting healthy lifestyles and was good at driving home key messages about children’s dental hygiene and smoke-free homes.

There was good support for mothers choosing to breastfeed and there was a good range of family learning activities which helped children develop communications skills and greater independence.

The assessment of families’ needs was also good and staff worked well to support them, including help to find employment.

But inspectors felt more needed to be done to target and support families who were experiencing problems due to rising worklessness and reductions in benefits and tax credits.

The centre itself had a warm and welcoming environment and there was good work to ensure children’s safety.

But not enough was being done to close the achievement gap between boys and girls, and staff had not received any recent training in equality and diversity issues.

More work also needed to be done to meet the needs of fathers, the inspectors felt.

n See for the full report.