Newham children’s services require improvement says Ofsted

East Ham Town Hall

East Ham Town Hall - Credit: Steve Poston

Children’s services in Newham require improvement, according to the results of the borough’s latest Ofsted inspection.

Strategic discussions will take place at the council’s cabinet meeting tomorrow night to assess how to address the situation and make the recommended improvements.

There has been a number of enhancements made to the service but not all of those that were suggested by the last Ofsted inspection, when it was found to be adequate, three years ago.

The cabinet’s report of Ofsted’s findings stated: “Newham’s performance is benchmarked against a range of other local authorities, many of which are not responding to the same levels of demand and deprivation.”

Approximately a third of Newham’s children are living in poverty and almost three times as many secondary school children in the area are entitled to free school meals than the national average.

On June 3, an assessment identified 3,389 children as formally requiring children’s services in the borough which is 302 less than last year.

Children’s services in Newham excelled in the areas of adoption performances and the experiences and progress of care leavers.

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However where it fell down was with children in care.

Of the 416 children being looked after by the local authority, almost three-quarters do not live in Newham.

Ofsted’s report stated: “When children are unable to live with their families and start to be looked after by the local authority, there are not enough placements available in and around Newham.

“As a result, some children do not see as much of their family and friends as they would like and a minority have to change school.”

A spokesman said: “The council is working with partners to implement a robust action plan to continue to drive improvement across the service.”

The council is expected to provide Ofsted with a written statement of its planned improvements by November 14.