Children’s home gets top marks

Exmoor Grove manager Sylvia Lowe holding a copy of their Ofsted report as fellow staff (left to right) Sally Craigs, Joanne Morter, Lindsay Bage, Steve Morrell, Debbie Wray, Katie Bage and Maureen Bage jump for joy. Picture by FRANK REID

Exmoor Grove manager Sylvia Lowe holding a copy of their Ofsted report as fellow staff (left to right) Sally Craigs, Joanne Morter, Lindsay Bage, Steve Morrell, Debbie Wray, Katie Bage and Maureen Bage jump for joy. Picture by FRANK REID

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STAFF at a children’s home are celebrating after receiving top marks from Government inspectors.

Exmoor Grove Children’s Home, in Hartlepool, has been given a “good” rating after a one-day visit from Ofsted inspectors.

The care unit offers short-break residential care for up to six children and young people with physical and/or learning disabilities.

It was previously rated as “satisfactory” but has been given an improved rating to the delight of staff.

The centre, which was inspected last November, is run by Hartlepool Borough Council and underwent a £100,000 refurbishment in October 2010.

Council bosses say the refurbishment, which also allowed officers to carry out staff training, has helped boost the unit.

Labour councillor Chris Simmons, portfolio holder for children’s services, welcomed the news at a recent meeting.

A report to the meeting said the inspector found the overall effectiveness of the unit good, the outcomes for children and young people was also rated good as was the quality of care.

Meanwhile, safeguarding measures were rated as good while staff were also praised.

Coun Simmons said: “I am very pleased with the progress being made at Exmoor Grove.

“It certainly justifies the £100,000 that was put in.

“The staff and management are to be congratulated and their efforts are highlighted in the grade from Ofsted.

“Young people and their families are very pleased with the facility and this is a very positive story.

“This is a good success and well done to everybody involved.”

In a report home manager Sylvia Lowe, who was praised by inspectors as an “experienced professional”, said: “The refurbishment work undertaken earlier in the year together with the hard work of the Exmoor Team following the re-opening have resulted in an extremely positive Ofsted inspection with the unit being re-classified as good from its previous satisfactory grading.”

Chief inspector Bill Drumm said: “There is a committed approach to enabling young people to develop socially, physically and emotionally.

“Members of staff actively support the education of young people and have developed strong links with local education providers.”

To further improve standards, inspectors have recommended staff ensure eligible children have a comprehensive transition plan in place and that the young people are responsible for their behaviour.

Exmoor Grove is registered with Ofsted to provide short-break care provision for young people between the ages of five and 18.

In 2009, an Ofsted report said the home is not furnished and equipped to meet the needs of the young people which led to the rating dropping from good to satisfactory.

It highlighted issues about the fabric of the building but officers say work was already planned for the three-month refurbishment.

The home was a purpose built building to deliver care for children with disabilities and opened in September 1985.