TWO residential homes for children have been praised by inspectors across the boorugh.

Almond Brook House, for young people aged 11-17, and Ladies Lane, which offers short breaks for 4–17-year-olds with complex physical disabilities, have received ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ ratings from Ofsted respectively, following visits in November and December last year.

The Wigan Council operated children’s homes were both praised for the staff’s professional and positive relationships with children, particularly acknowledging the way staff listen to children’s wishes and feelings.

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The inspection report for Almond Brook House highlighted how staff support young people to keep in touch with their families, access education, and look after their mental health.

Leaders at Wigan Council were praised for their increased investment in a professional psychologist’s time at the home, which was cited as good practice, along with the staff’s detailed and reflective handovers, and monthly supervision and regular support from managers.

Meanwhile, Ladies Lane was particularly celebrated for the staff’s skill, expertise, and pride in their work, the effectiveness of the leadership, communication with families and schools, excellent monitoring systems, the progress that children who attend the home have made, and the many positive experiences offered to them.

Leigh Journal: Ms Bullen said that the Ofsted inspections are a testament to the council teamsMs Bullen said that the Ofsted inspections are a testament to the council teams (Image: Wigan Council)
Councillor Jenny Bullen, cabinet member for children and families, said:
“This is wonderful news. It is not easy to gain such positive results from Ofsted inspections and I’d like to particularly thank the staff and management teams at both Ladies Lane and Almond Brook House for their dedication to our children and young people.

“We’ve worked hard to make sure that our residential homes offer the right sort of support to both children and their families and foster carers.

“These excellent inspection results are testament to the fact that this work is making a real impact.”

Ladies Lane and Almond Brook House are two of four Wigan Council led children’s residential homes in the borough, which cater for children in Hindley, Standish and Leigh.

The others include The View, which offers an immediate access room so that a child can be cared for immediately if needed, and supports children who have often come from very challenging circumstances with any emotional difficulties. The View aims to get children ready to move on and begin life with a foster family.

BASE supports children with diagnosed learning difficulties and complex needs, and helps families develop strategies to enable them to care for children at home.

Coun. Bullen added: “Each of the homes we run now offers something unique, from the support for older children at Almond Brook House, helping them build life skills so they can get ready to become independent, to the specialism in physical disabilities at Ladies Lane, learning disabilities at BASE, and emotional difficulties at The View, which ensures that the whole spectrum of children’s needs can now be cared for within our borough.”

Colette Dutton, Director of Children’s Services at Wigan Council, added: "We have taken an ambitious and strategic approach to improvement across children’s services, which has helped us focus on the continued positive journey of our children’s residential homes.

“We appointed an experienced service manager to lead the process, review our services, give managers at the homes some increased autonomy, and listen to both the children and the staff to make sure they were at the heart of our decision making.

“This consistent approach, along with quality staff training and a focus on the emotional wellbeing of everyone involved, has made the difference.

“I’d also like to thank the partners we work with including teams from across the council and clinical services such as paediatricians, psychologists, and our looked after children’s nurses as they have all played a valuable role in supporting our children’s homes on their journey to Outstanding.”