AN AFTER school club has been told children in its care are “at risk of harm” after it failed an Ofsted inspection.

ChildzOwn, based at St Anne’s Catholic Primary School, in Pinkerton Road, South Ham, was visited by the education watchdog in March, and a report published today graded the facility as “inadequate”.

The inspection was carried out after a concern was raised to Ofsted regarding the health, safety and well-being of the children, as well as the suitability and qualifications of staff.

An inspector found that the club was “in breach of a number of legal requirements.”

This included ensuring that at least half of all staff are sufficiently trained and hold relevant qualifications.

Of the three members of staff employed, only the manager held a recognised early year’s qualification.

The club was registered in 2009 and is privately owned and managed, with 27 children on roll.

The report said: “The systems for self-evaluation are weak and have failed to identify significant breaches in requirements.”

It added: “Staff lack understanding of their safeguarding responsibilities. This is a significant weakness in regard to the children’s welfare and safety, placing them at risk of harm.”

Although the inspector found that all staff working with children had undergone “necessary background checks”, it was also found that the club was “failing to meet the requirements in relation to the qualifications of staff” and “staff lack knowledge of the procedures to follow in the event of concerns arising and of subsequent reporting processes. These are clear breaches of safeguarding and welfare requirements.”

The last time the club was inspected, in 2010, it was graded as “satisfactory”.

The latest report identified a number of strengths of the club, and said staff provide children with “enjoyable activities and play experiences,” and “the children appear happy and confident in the club and arrive eagerly, keen to participate in the activities available.”

To improve, the provider was asked to train all staff to understand safeguarding policy and procedures, “including identifying signs of possible abuse” and “ensure there is a named deputy who is suitably qualified and experienced to take charge should the manager be absent.”

It added that management is “actively looking to find a replacement for the deputy who left recently.”

Joanne Sally Bennett, the provider of the club, told The Gazette that all the concerns raised by Ofsted had now been rectified.

*Read the full Ofsted report here