Horsham club responds to ‘unfair’ Ofsted

  • Roffey Fun Club downgraded from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’ after recent Ofsted inspection
  • Parents and workers claim the report is ‘unfair’
  • West Sussex County Council will offer support

Parents and workers from a club in Horsham have described a recent Ofsted report as ‘unfair’.

The Roffey Fun Club at Northolmes School, in Leith View Road, was visited by Ofsted inspectors earlier this month and has been downgraded from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’.

The bottom line is we are not teachers, we are not educators, we are play workers.

Karen Compton

The after school club is run daily and offers a place for parents to send their children to eat and play if they are unable to collect them when the school closes.

In the report issues were raised about lack of preparation by staff which left children to ‘play on their own’.

It stated this led to ‘some children climbing on a box and leaning out of a window’ whilst others became physical with one another.

But Karen Compton, who runs the club, said: “The two incidents the inspector has described were resolved.

“If we are going to say what the problems was, say what the resolution was. It just seems unfair.”

The report also stated some staff did not understand how to protect children and keep them safe, whilst others were not deployed well when youngsters were outside playing as some children were out of ‘hearing range’ and ‘sight’.

The report also said ‘no proof’ was shown that any members of staff held a first-aid qualification and staff did not have the ‘opportunity’ to access training.

But Karen said many of her staff members do hold a first-aid qualification but due to space at the club their paperwork is kept off site.

She added the club has always kept to their one to six ratio of staff to children meaning the children are always being supervised and the team were also booked in for a first aid refresher course before the inspection.

The report also outlined the club had a ‘poor understanding’ of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

But Karen said: “Unfortunately we got an inspector who seemed to be focused education instead of play work.

“The bottom line is we are not teachers, we are not educators, we are play workers.

“They have spent all day learning at school, children do not come here for another three hours of learning.

“If the parents are happy and the children are happy then we are happy.”

She said the club is meant to receive support from West Sussex County Council when it comes to issues such as the Early Years Foundation Stage.

However after applying for help in September Karen said she only heard back a week after the inspection.

In response a council spokesperson said: “As a County Council, we try to support after school clubs in a range of ways.

“We are disappointed to hear about Roffey Fun Club’s Ofsted rating and we will be contacting them to offer advice, support and guidance moving forward.”

Despite the negatives, the report did outline parents were happy with the communication and the healthy menu on offer for their children.

Natalie Coates’ son has been attending the club for the past three years.

She said: “I have looked at the Ofsted report and I think it is really really unfair.

“I think it is a really well rounded environment and my son is very very happy there and I am very very happy.”