18 January 2009

Cleveland Unit Middlesbrough

I was browsing the newspapers online line and I came across the following article in my Local Gazette and it really touched me and brought back memories of the Unit from when I used to attend, (at Middlesbrough General Hospital) I wanted to share it with you all

Great work!
Children’s centre ‘excellent’ says Ofsted inspector
CHILDREN with disabilities are getting off to the best start possible thanks to an “outstanding” education and therapy centre.

The Cleveland Unit, based at the James Cook University Hospital, achieved outstanding grades across the board in a recent Ofsted report.

This is the second time the unit has been inspected by Ofsted and the second time it has received the highest possible rating.

“It’s a fantastic achievement for all of the staff,” said Liz Pickard, headteacher of the unit which cares for children with complex needs up to the age of five.

Funded by Middlesbrough Council and local health trusts, the unit currently has 61 children on its roll with a wide range of conditions including Down’s Syndrome, cerebral palsy, severe learning difficulties, emotional and behavioural difficulties, autism and life-limiting illnesses.

The unit has its own sensory garden and four colourful classrooms containing everything from story books to toy dinosaurs.

Liz said: “It’s absolutely wonderful to work here. We have fantastic staff and a dedicated team.

“At the end of the day it’s all about the children - improving outcomes for them and ensuring they get the best possible start to early years education.

“Standards are rising all the time and Ofsted has raised the bar significantly this year.

“My thanks go to all of the staff, support staff and therapists and all of the parents and carers who support us and fundraise tirelessly.”
In her report, Ofsted inspector Vivienne Dempsey said: “Staff provide an exceptional environment where all children are nurtured and staff recognise the uniqueness of each child.

“Children's learning and development is exceptional in relation to their starting points and capabilities.”

Liz said: “All children deserve the very best in early years services and nursery education.

“We have all worked very hard over the last two years to further develop our assessment nursery.”

Dianne Cocker of Linthorpe, whose son Blake, three, recently started at the centre, said: “Even though we know they are coming here because they have disabilities we feel they are at an advantage because it’s a wonderful nursery. The children practically get one on one care and they have got good facilities.”

Chief executive of South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust, Simon Pleydell, said he was not surprised the unit had done so well as its staff do an exceptional job.

He said: “The unit was again awarded ‘outstanding’ status which is virtually unprecedented on a national basis and is a major achievement for all the agencies involved.”

Councillor Mike Carr, Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for children, families and learning, said: “This terrific report is a credit to the headteacher and the staff who can all be justly proud of their achievements.

“All our young people deserve the best possible start in life, and it is abundantly clear that at the Cleveland Unit they are getting just that.”

The unit’s next ambition is to develop its outdoor play area. To make a donation contact Liz on 01642 854288.

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