Book News: May 15th, 2007

This report from the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) says that inspectors found that most local authorities are making a good contribution towards delivering better outcomes for the majority of children and young people. However a significant minority provision is not good enough and authorities need to do more to redress this inequity.Children’s services are improving with 107 out of the 139 authorities covered by the report making at least a good contribution towards delivering better outcomes for children and young people. The biggest challenge continues to be narrowing the gap in opportunities, provision and outcomes between the majority of children and those that are vulnerable or underachieving.

The report identifies weakness in monitoring and assessing the physical and mental health needs of vulnerable groups, in particular looked-after children and children with disabilities. In some authorities there are delays in completing assessments, thresholds to access social care services are set too high, and there is a lack of appropriate placements for looked after children. Too frequently, these act as barriers to children’s safety and well-being. There is also ineffective local authority support for poorly performing schools in some areas. For some children and young people, poor levels of attendance, unmet behavioural needs and high levels of exclusion are barriers to enjoying and achieving.

The report is available at:

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/assets/Internet_Content/Shared_Content/Files/2007/apr/narrowingthegap.pdf