Haywards Heath home for children with special needs praised by Ofsted
Ofsted has heaped praise on a home for children with special needs, saying the youngsters thrived there.
Orchard House, in Haywards Heath was inspected early in September and has been rated outstanding in all areas.
In his report, social care inspector Paul Taylor said: “Children thrive at this home. They benefit from excellent support from a staff team that cares deeply for them.”
His views were shared by parents, with one saying their daughter’s progress had been ‘amazing’ while another said of their son: “It’s unbelievable, the progress he made here.”
Orchard House was last inspected in January, when it was rated good.
This top outstanding rating will be welcome news for West Sussex County Council, which has faced a barrage of criticism about the state of its children’s services.
Jackie Wood, the council’s assistant director – corporate parenting, said: “Inspectors found that Orchard House is a highly effective home that consistently exceeds the standard of good and said that children’s voices and opinions are valued and promoted.
“The care offered by staff there contributes to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences for children and young people, who live or access services at the home.”
Orchard House provides long and short-term accommodation for up to 16 children aged five to 16 who have learning disabilities.
Mr Taylor said the relationship between staff and children was one of care and respect, with the youngsters enjoying the company of the adults who in return valued their opinions.
Looking at the progress made by the children, he added: “Each child has a bespoke plan which helps them to develop their self-care skills and independence commensurate with their level of understanding and ability.
“Every step of progress, no matter how small, is celebrated and enjoyed.
“Progress for some – especially when bearing in mind their starting points – is remarkable.”
Mr Taylor highlighted only one point for further improvement – the need for all staff to be familiar with the home’s policy on keeping records up to date. This was due to one occasion when a support plan was not updated promptly.
A council spokesman confirmed the recommendation had been taken on board.