Ofsted verdict is a real boost

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A CHILDREN'S centre has received a glowing first Ofsted inspection.

Mill Hill Children's Centre offers activities and support to families as well as outreach services across the community.

It merged with Small Steps Children's Centre in March and has proved a huge success in supporting families of children under five in the Stakes and Waterloo areas of Waterlooville.

The children's centre, in Mill Road, impressed inspectors from the education watchdog in the October inspection.

They said the quality of leadership and management, and the capacity for sustained improvement were outstanding.

Penny Bovey, centre co-ordinator, said: 'The Ofsted inspection was a real boost to the staff who all work extremely hard to support families in the community.

'I am pleased that the inspectors acknowledged the high level of expertise and support which is offered by the team, and all of the agencies we work in partnership with.

'Their constructive feedback was appreciated and will be used to maintain and improve the level of support offered by the centre.'

Other highlights of the report include praise for the way staff, especially outreach workers, safeguard children's welfare needs and identify those who are vulnerable, tackling problems at an early stage.

Ofsted inspector Alex Baxter said: 'This early intervention and support helps to ensure that children, including those at risk and others with complex needs, feel and stay safe.'

The only recommendation made by Ofsted was to make more use of the spacious facilities and resources and further develop the skills of volunteers to meet parents' and children's language and emotional development.

The centre is run by Hampshire County Council.

Councillor Roy Perry, deputy leader of the council, said: 'This is a very encouraging result for Mill Hill and Small Steps Children's Centre.

'Centres such as Mill Hill and Small Steps provide a wealth of information, advice and access to support services for children and young families. I am sure the centre will strive to maintain and build on this good result.'