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CHILDREN'S SERVICES WIN STRONG SCORES

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More than three-quarters of councils turned in a good or outstanding performance on children's services in last yea...
More than three-quarters of councils turned in a good or outstanding performance on children's services in last year's annual performance assessments and in the first batch of 37 joint area reviews.

A report by Ofsted has judged 10 councils 'outstanding', 97 'good', 28 'adequate' and only four 'inadequate'.

The two appraisals will be more closely aligned from this year, Ofsted said.

Joint area reviews will focus on the key areas of weakness identified in the annual performance assessments, and on vulnerable groups and safeguarding children.

Ofsted said the greatest challenge is to narrow the gap between the opportunities enjoyed by most children and young people and those in the most vulnerable and

under-achieving groups.

A common weakness is 'poor ongoing monitoring and assessment of the physical and mental health needs of vulnerable groups,' it says.

There has been only limited progress in reducing numbers of teenage pregnancies, and none on obesity.

Good planning of the transition from child to adult services has had 'a particularly profound impact' on children with learning difficulties or disabilities, Ofsted notes.

Ofsted director of education Miriam Rosen said: 'Councils and partners should secure a balance between sustaining improvements to universal services, while investing in prevention and targeting resources on acute areas of need.'

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