Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Doncaster children's service makes significant progress

Doncaster Council's children's services has made "significant progress" two years after its failures led to government intervention.

Ofsted said the service was "adequate", meeting the minimum requirement.

Chris Pratt, director of children's services, said: "I'm pleased that Ofsted have recognised the areas where we have improved."

In 2009 the government ordered the takeover of the council's children's service after seven young people died.

One of the key improvements highlighted in the annual Ofsted report was that the rate of improvement in the number of students achieving five A* to C GCSE grade in maths and English was twice the national average.

Ofsted said there was a "steady improvement" in achievement in children up to five years old and the local authority's support was having a positive impact and helping primary schools to improve.

The latest rating is an improvement on the 2010 inspection which deemed children's services to be performing poorly.

Mr Pratt said: "There is still a long way to go until we have a consistently good service for all children and young people in Doncaster but I am committed to making sure that we continue to improve in all areas and will vigorously implement Ofsted's recommendations.

"We now have a stable senior management team with some excellent staff working for them and I see no reason why we shouldn't continue on our improvement journey."

An area about which Ofsted had concern, and which was also addressed in its 2010 report, was the improvement of attendance by police and health professionals at child protection conferences.

Ofsted said it wanted to see further improvement to lower the persistent high absence rate among secondary schools in the borough.

In March 2009, the government ordered the takeover of Doncaster's children's services after the deaths of seven children between 2004 and 2008.

In April last year, the government announced again it would intervene at the authority after the Audit Commission said it was not being properly run.

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