STAFF at an after-school club are celebrating a glowing Ofsted report – almost a year to the day it was placed in the worst possible category.
Farlington Wrap Around Service, based at Court Lane Infants and Juniors, was given a good grade in every single category and praised for its excellent safety, a wide range of activities and strong teamwork.
This news vindicates managing director Karen Smith, who always insisted staff were having an ‘off day’ when inspectors gave the club an inadequate grading.
Last time out, in 2011, they reported parents were misled about the amount of food children ate and that safety was compromised.
Mrs Smith said: ‘We are pleased with our Ofsted but it came a year too late.
‘On the basis of the previous Ofsted at least one parent took their child out and more will have avoided us.
‘If we didn’t have the support of many of our parents, we could have closed down – the report was shocking and we kept telling people “that’s not what we’re like”.
‘We’re still doing exactly the same things today as we were last year and yet we’ve improved by two grades.
‘Ofsted made their judgement based on an off day when everything that could go wrong did go wrong, and we paid the price for it. The system is flawed.’
She added: ‘I believe we deserved an outstanding this time, but that would probably have made Ofsted look bad.’
Mrs Smith and her business partner Amanda Mapplebeck run three other after-school clubs at Solent Infants and Juniors, and St Paul’s RC primary, all judged good.
But when inspectors turned up at the Copnor site in January 2011, which was previously rated ‘good’, everything was thrown into disarray after staff and children were moved from the school hall into a classroom.
To prepare food, for example, a staff member had to leave the room – and in their absence a child had an accident which the inspector had to see to.
And the children were served up pasta and crusty bread rather than what was on the menu, which Mrs Smith agrees was unacceptable.
Mrs Smith said: ‘We were totally distraught with that Ofsted. We felt like crying – but the next worst thing was waiting a whole year.
‘Now we are back where we should be. And we’re aiming for outstanding.’
Since the last inspection, the clubs have introduced ‘evidence folders’ cataloguing everything from parent newsletters to safety procedures to make it easier for inspectors to examine.
Ofsted declined to comment.