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John Stevenson 'very concerned' by 'inadequate' rating

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John Stevenson has said he is"very concerned for the children that are looked after" by Cumbria County Council.

The MP for Carlisle was commenting in response to today's news that child services in the region have been rated as inadequate for the third time in four years by Ofsted, who monitor the Children Services Department.

He says he has requested a meeting with the head of Children’s Services, John McIlwraith, and Chief Executive of Cumbria County Council, Diane Wood, to discuss this issue with them.

These are the lives of children who for whatever reason have not been given the best start.

"As a Country we have to ensure that these children are given the best care possible.

"Unfortunately Cumbria County Council appear to be unable to look after these children to an acceptable standard. "Questions need to be asked, these failings must be dealt with and significant improvements have to be made.’

– John Stevenson, MP

'Improvements have been made'

Cumbria County Council says improvements have been made to child services in the region, but that the progress hasn't been fast enough.

The comments come after an OfSTED report released today rated two out of five areas inspected, including Leadership, management and governance, as 'inadequate'.

It's the third report since 2012 to criticise the region's services, and the council says it recognises there is still much work to be done to raise standards.


Services for children in care 'inadequate'

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Services for children in care in Cumbria have been branded "inadequate" by inspectors.

An Ofsted report published today says there are "widespread failures" in Cumbria County Council's provision for looked after children due to ineffective practice by some staff and managers.

The council says it has the right leadership and plans in place to deliver improvements.

Richard Rose Central Academy out of Special Measures

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Carlisle's Richard Rose Central Academy has come out of Special Measures, according to the results of an Ofsted inspection in March.

It was the first inspection since the Academy was taken over by United Learning in September 2014.

In its findings, leadership of the academy was graded as Good, while all other areas were judged to Require Improvement.

In their report, inspectors praised staff and pupils, and said "there has been a marked improvement in the behaviour of students and the attitudes they display."

However, inspector's also said that several areas still required improvement, including achievement of pupils, behaviour and safety of pupils, and inconsistencies in some areas of teaching.

The Academy says it is encouraged by Ofsted's report.

This is very good news with which to begin the summer term.

"Everyone at the academy knows that it is a very different place to several years ago and we are all encouraged by this recognition by Ofsted that the changes we have introduced are having a demonstrable impact.”

– Neil Hutchinson, Headteacher of the academy


Top marks for children's centre

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A Sure Start Children's centre in Carlisle has been given an 'Outstanding' certificate following its most recent Ofsted report.

Carlisle West Newtown Sure Start Children's Centre is holding a celebration event for all local parents and their children to celebrate achievement.

Mrs. Nicky Robley, Children's Services Manager explained:

"We look forward to hosting this celebration event as a thank you to all the children and parents who have made this Newtown Children's Centre an Outstanding Centre.

"We have been humbled to see the progress that families have made at the Centre in such a short period of time and would like to celebrate this success. "

Children's Centres are places that offer access to a range of support for families with children aged 0-19 years, through offering accessible services for all parents with more support targeted at those who need it most.