Stow kids’ club told to improve

A CHILDREN’S day-care service has been told to make more than 20 improvements by the Care Inspectorate, writes Adam Drummond.

Following an inspection of Stow Kids’ Club in October last year, a report published last week made 19 recommendations and four requirements to improve.

The service was graded ‘weak’ for the quality of management and leadership, ‘adequate’ for quality of care and support and quality of staffing, and ‘good’ for the quality of environment.

Report author Howard Armstrong said the service needed to make considerable improvements to its day-to-day and strategic management, in addition to putting in place a range of policies and procedures to protect children.

Mr Armstrong found that no personal plans for the youngsters had been implemented, there was no child protection policy and there were issues with the way children were disciplined.

Commenting on what the service had done since an inspection last March, Mr Armstrong said: “We recognise that the service has had a difficult year. However, it has not responded well to the areas for improvement, requirements and recommendations that we made at the last inspection.

“We acknowledge that there has been a recent change of manager, and that the provider is a committee of volunteers.”

The club is registered to provide day care for up to 30 children aged four to 15. It is based at Stow Primary and is run by a committee of parents.

Despite the significant improvements required, Mr Amstrong noted: “Stow Kids’ Club provides an essential service to families in a rural area. Some parents told us that it was important to sustaining them in employment.

“Children told us that they enjoyed coming along to the service, and parents we spoke to confirmed this. They told us that they were kept informed about key issues and received good feedback from staff.”

Jacki Cooper, chair of the committee, said: “Stow Kid’s Club has had a very challenging year, but our very committed staff and volunteer management committee have, and continue to, work very hard to maintain the smooth running of the club.”

She added: “We welcome the findings of the Care Inspectorate and value their input and advice.

“As a result of the report, we are working closely with them to maintain the core values of Stow Kids’ Club – to provide a safe, fun and educational environment for the children of Stow.”