18:38 Sunday 05 January 2014

'Happy' club celebrates glowing Ofsted report

Written byLAURA HAMMOND

03/01/14 OFSTED reportOFSTED report, The Activity Club....Ben Flanagan at front with report.... 03/01/14 OFSTED reportOFSTED report, The Activity Club....Ben Flanagan at front with report....

THE friendly, caring and supportive nature of staff at an after-school club in Willington have been praised in a report from education watchdogs Ofsted.

The Activity Club, which is based at the Old Schoolhouse, in Castle Way, was given a glowing report when inspectors visited towards the end of last year.

Officials said it was clear that children really enjoyed attending the club, where they were happy and made good educational progress.

Debbie Henry, who runs the club, told the Mail she and other staff were ‘thrilled’ with the outcome of the report.

“We were really pleased with it. We couldn’t have wished for anything better. We thought they might find something we had completely overlooked, but they didn’t, and we’re very happy,” she added.

Inspectors awarded the club a good rating, and said it only missed out on the top spot of outstanding because links with some schools were not always as good as they could be, and evaluation for staff’s ‘very good practice’ was not always focused.

The mark is an improvement on the last inspection, in 2009, when it gained a satisfactory rating.

Mrs Henry said: “The Government introduced a lot more paperwork concerning children of a younger age, and at the last inspection, that was still quite new to us.

“We have got someone in place that works with the younger age group, and a very diligent manager who makes sure everything is in place.”

In the report, inspectors highlight the children’s confidence and the understanding from staff as to how children learn.

They also commented on the excellent teamwork shown by the 11 staff, most of whom have been there for years.

Mrs Henry, who has been running the club for 11 years, put its success down to its flexibility.

“We have lots of lovely comments from parents. One wrote a Christmas card saying they did not know what they would do without us,” she added.

The club also has a base in Hilton, and has a total of 81 children who use it regularly.

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