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Bodmin's children's centre is failing to reach most needy

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 12, 2014

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BODMIN children's centre is not meeting the needs of families in the area, according to government inspectors.

The Higher Bore Street centre, which is run by Cornwall Council, has been ranked as requiring improvement following its first visit from Ofsted inspectors.

The report said: "Not enough families, particularly those who need most help and support, access services.

"While leaders have accurately identified a need to tackle poverty and worklessness within the local area, they have not developed a clear plan of action to effectively support adults to find work.

"Information and data provided by the local authority are not always detailed enough or analysed sufficiently to help leaders have a clear picture of where they need to focus the efforts of the centre, and target-setting by the local authority is not precise enough to ensure priority is given to engaging those families who would most benefit from centre services."

The report did, however, praise the centre's staff, describing them as "well qualified and skilled, showing a strong commitment to improving the lives of the families they work with".

Cornwall Council, which runs the centre, said there were many positives to come out of the report.

A spokeswoman said: "While the headline findings from the Ofsted inspection at Bodmin Children's Centre judge it to 'require improvement', the reports themselves have many positive comments about the staff and their commitment to helping families in the local area.

"Inspectors at the centre praised staff skills and experience. At Bodmin the report noted the commitment of staff to improving the lives of families using the centre, highlighting the work with teenage and young parents which it said 'benefits from good-quality teaching and support'. However, as the inspectors found, there are improvements we can make, and we will of course follow up on these recommendations to ensure our children's centres best meet the needs of the local community."

The Ofsted report highlighted that the Bodmin centre's catchment area was among the most deprived 30 per cent in the country, and within it were areas which were in the top 10 per cent for deprivation nationally.

Almost 22 per cent of the 1,564 under-5s in the area had been identified as living in poverty.

Wadebridge and Camelford Children's Centre has also been ranked as requires improvement.

The Ofsted report said too few of the families most in need were taking part in the centre's activities and leaders did not sufficiently track the progress of the children and families most in need. Therefore the difference that these services were making to their lives was unclear.

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  • JeremyBadger  |  January 12 2014, 9:21PM

    I would query as to why Bodmin needs THREE Children's Centres - (Bodmin Children's Centre on Higher Bore Street, the Berryfields Children's Centre at Harmer Close and the Beacon Children's Centre at the Beacon Infant & Nursery School on Robartes Road) all within 1/2 mile of each other. Surely this is overkill and must lead to a watering down of children's services in the area and therefore a watering down of the available cash to support these valuable services?

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  • JeremyBadger  |  January 12 2014, 9:04PM