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Parents back troubled after school club
Parents are campaigning to keep an after school club supplier despite its second damning Ofsted report within a year.
Somerhill Primary School in Hove has announced it will change providers after current playcare firm Starfish Kids was deemed inadequate in its latest Ofsted report.
The not-for-profit Hove-based group runs breakfast, after school and holiday clubs for up to 40 pupils at Somerhill and at nearby Davigdor and St Mary Magdalen.
Starfish Kids was also scored as inadequate following an inspection in November.
The most recent report warned children’s safety was being compromised because there was no record of attendance while opportunities for art and craft activities were limited.
But parents are launching a campaign to save the club. A petition has already gathered about 40 signatures.
T-shirts and flyers have been printed while parents held a stall at a recent school open day.
Parent Gwenn Parker- Tregoat said: “Whilst it is clear the club has had some problems recently, it is equally clear the new management now in place is making good progress, addressing the issues identified by Ofsted and delivering improvements for parents and children.
“Parents are happy to continue with Starfish as their after school carer, and the overwhelming majority of them have signed a petition to ask the school to change their mind. Parents have different views about what they want than Ofsted.”
Sven Chipchase, chair of governors at Somerhill Junior School, said the decision to end the relationship with Starfish had been a difficult one but the firm had been given a “considerable amount of time” to improve things by Ofsted. He added: “The very respected local company Class of Their Own has agreed to provide an after school and breakfast club and agreed to offer jobs to all the Starfish staff on their current terms and conditions. We are doing everything we can to help ensure a smooth transition so parents receive a first class service when the new academic year starts.”
A Starfish spokeswoman said improvements to the management structure had been made since the initial Ofsted inspection in November, while issues with registers highlighted in the most recent inspection had also been resolved.
She added: “The school has been reticent in responding to any communication from us, communicating mainly via letters to parents sent from the school governors.
“We were never asked for progress reports on the improvements we have made, and invitations to see them in practice were ignored.”
The company said it was assessing the impact on its business affairs of losing the Somerhill contract.