Outstanding Ofsted for King’s Lynn centre

Marshfields Short Break Unit in West Lynn. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Marshfields Short Break Unit in West Lynn. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A centre in King's Lynn which offers breaks for children with learning and physical disabilities is celebrating after receiving an 'outstanding' rating in its most recent review by government inspectors.

The Marshfields short-breaks unit in West Lynn has been awarded the highest possible rating by Ofsted in the last five successive inspections.

Claire Pooley, assistant manager of Marshfields, said: 'We are very proud of the service we give and it is so nice to have Ofsted recognise all the work we do and the commitment of the whole staff team.'

Alexandra Kemp, county councillor for the area, described the facilities as a 'lifeline' for families with disabled children.

She said: 'Children's Services departments around the country can learn a lot from the good practice in Marshfields.

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'Marshfields runs a tailor-made training programme for staff, and produces health education plans for children in-house, which has speeded up access to healthcare for children.'

Marshfields allows up to 30 children and families specialist overnight and day-care services which are tailored to each child's individual needs.

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It is run by Norfolk County Council and caters for youngsters with learning and physical disabilities as well as those with sensory impairments.

The report following the inspection on November 3 praises the staff, the progress children make in their education when visiting the centre and the leadership at the centre.

'Staff work meticulously to understand the individual needs of the children and develop close working relationships that are genuinely caring,' it says.

'As a result, children make excellent progress when they receive short breaks.'

It also praised its work with other agencies to make sure children are well cared for when visiting the home. Feedback received from parents as part of the consultation also highly rated the service.

The most recent inspection was also carried out under new regulations which clearly set out specific standards that such facilities have to meet, including quality of care as well as the children's perspectives.

James Joyce, chairman of the Children's Services Committee at Norfolk County Council, said: 'This home provides fun stays and activities for children, as well as support and respite to their parents and carers and I know it is valued tremendously by those who use it.'

He added: 'It is fantastic to see staff working effectively alongside parents and other agencies to ensure that children are making the very best progress.'

While areas of children's services at Norfolk County Council have been seen to be struggling recently, education focused on special needs in the county is considered to be of very high standards.

In July, Churchill Park School in King's Lynn climbed up to a 'Good' Grade in its most recent report. It means the county's 11 complex needs schools are either considered 'Good' or 'Outstanding' by education inspectors.

How has Marshfields helped your child? Email louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk.

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