Aston House, our children’s home in Walsall, has been graded ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, less than nine months after the inspector deemed the service as inadequate.
Since January, the service has put a focus on advocating for the young people and involving them in cosmetic changes made to the home, such as involving them in decorating choices and putting their photos on the wall to give it a family atmosphere.
At the inspection in August 2022, the independent inspector found that the home “provides highly effective services that consistently exceed the standards of good and contributes to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences for children and young people who need help, protection and care.”
In the report, the inspector commented: “The overall progress children make is exceptional. One child moved into the home unable to swim and scared of water. Staff have taught them to swim and they now regularly enjoy water sports such as kayaking and coasteering. The life skill of learning to swim has opened up a wealth of new opportunities for the child, which they are enjoying.”
The report also stated: “The staff benefit from a manager who is inspirational and ensures they have the knowledge, skills and training to support the needs of children. Staff unanimously report they are proud to work in the home and are well supported through good inductions and intense training. One staff member said that, in her 10 years working in the sector, the manager is ‘hands down the best manager I have ever worked for’.”
Sophie Bravington, deputy manager at Aston House, said: “We are delighted to have received the top grade from Ofsted in our latest inspection and to have received such lovely comments in the report. It is a testament to how hard the staff have worked to turn the service around after the disappointment of our inspection last December.
“Our children are our number one priority, and to be now recognised as not only good, but outstanding in our care of them is the best reward we could wish for. We have built a culture of care at Aston House where our staff and the children we support are treated as family, and I am very proud of that.
“We will continue to work hard to ensure these high standards continue to be met when we are visited by Ofsted again in the future.”
John Godden MBE, CEO of Salutem Care and Education, which operates Aston House, said: “The team at Aston have done an incredible job in a relatively short space of time – something which has I know has taken a great deal of effort.
“I’m very proud that they are part of the Salutem family, demonstrating our values at an exceptional standard and being recognised as role models in the care sector at the same time.”