Child care scheme is ‘outstanding’

Youngsters enjoying one of the Oscar sport sessions held this summer
Youngsters enjoying one of the Oscar sport sessions held this summer

A COUNCIL-RUN child care scheme has been rated as “outstanding” by Government inspectors.

Hartlepool Borough Council runs the Oscar programme, which provides after school and holiday care provision for children between the ages of three and 16.

Oscars is now based at its new home at West Hartlepool Rugby Club, in Catcote Road.

An inspector from Ofsted spent five hours at the play centre in mid-August, reviewing all paperwork, observing staff and children and interviewing staff members.

A report to the meeting said: “The overall outcome for the inspection was outstanding, whereby the service was given 16 outstanding judgments and one good.”

Inspectors described children as “extremely happy” and praised the management team and staff.

Independent councillor Cath Hill, portfolio holder for children’s and community services, discussed the positive feedback at a council meeting.

Coun Hill said she would write to staff to praise them for their hard work.

The main findings stated: “Children are extremely happy, confident and well cared for at the very welcoming and inclusive club.

“They thoroughly enjoy spending their time with the enthusiastic staff, who skilfully plan and provide an array of activities to enhance children’s progress towards the early learning goals.”

The report also praised the “strong management team” and “extremely well-established” systems for communicating with parents and carers.

Inspectors recommended the service should create an area that will allow children to enjoy and engage in quiet play, to further improve the service on offer.

Speaking at the meeting, Danielle Swainston, head of access and strategic planning, said: “Congratulations must go to the staff.

“They have worked very hard and moved to a new base and this is testament to that hard work.”

Coun Hill added: “I will write to the Oscars staff to thank them because they deserve to be congratulated about what they have achieved.

“The parents will certainly be happy.”

A number of areas were covered in the inspection including the overall effectiveness of the early years provision, the effectiveness of leadership and management and the quality and standards.