Penarth’s “Bear Pak” After School and Holiday Club has emerged with flying colours from its latest regular inspection by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales  – the body which checks-out all institutions and organisations where people and children are cared for.

The club operates at Trinity Methodist Church in Woodland Place, Penarth, and provides  out-of-school care for up to 50 children under the age of 12.

The Bear Pak out of school club operates at Trinity Methodist Church, Penarth

The CSSIW reports that ” Children enjoy and learn from a wide range of interesting activities and experiences. They are well settled and relaxed in their surroundings and engage well with other  children and their carers. Staff have good knowledge about the children’s needs and provide nurturing care.”

The CSSIW says “There is a good ratio of staff to children which ensures that children’s needs are consistently well met. The service offers a flexible service to working parents and offers collection services from several schools in the area. Holiday care is also provided”

The CSSIW report on the Beak Pak out of school of club

However the inspectors have pointed out that some improvements are required . In the last inspection Bear Pak was asked to “date”  all polices and procedures for version control, which it did . However the CSSIW says the club’s existing “Collection of Children”  policy is in need of “further revision”.

On the day-to-day operation of the club the CSSIW inspectors say the out of school provision provides a good quality service for children and offers them ” a range of interesting and stimulating opportunities”. Children are content and told us that they
enjoy how they spend their time at the club.”

Inspectors found that “children make their own decisions about how they spend their time at the club and are able to direct their own play“. They saw “children and staff engaged in friendly conversations and it was clear that children are listened to and that their views are considered.” The report says “Children’s voices are strong within the service. This promotes children’s confidence and self-esteem.”

The report says “Children are settled and comfortable in their surroundings. There is a busy atmosphere and children enjoy their time playing with others. We saw children
laughing and running around the outside space. They were lively, engaged in their
play activities and responded well when staff joined in their games.”

Inspectors said that “when children needed to be reminded or prompted regarding their behaviour, they responded appropriately and were calm, respectful and able to continue to enjoy their play. …Older children were seen by younger children as role models and because children from several schools use the service, they have opportunities to form friendships with children from other schools.”

Inspectors said “We found that staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities in providing appropriate care. They carry out their duties well to ensure children feel happy, settled and are cared for. There is an established staff group who have experience in working with children and they have opportunities for professional development in line with current standards.”

Bear Pak was found to have “robust health and safety procedures in place”. Most staff have paediatric first aid and food hygiene training. There are allergen/dietary requirement records, fire drill records, infection control procedures and safeguarding measures in place. Fire drills were completed in excess of National Minimum Standards .” We noted that the club has a food hygiene rating of 5 and that children were prompted to wash their hands before eating”.

The inspectors reported that “There is a child protection policy in place; we recommended that information regarding the Prevent Duty be added to the safeguarding policy. This relates to the need for all child care providers to protect children from the dangers of radicalisation and extremism as part of their safeguarding duty.” Training is being introduced for staff at Bear Pak

“unique service, where each child is treated as an individual”. The PiC told us that staff
provide a drop off and collection service from other after school activities, which offers
a very flexible service to families. We did not hear any Welsh during our visits and as
such, we recommended that efforts are made to increase the use of incidental Welsh.


Outdoor space is small and only 16 children are allowed out at any one one time

The report says that “The club operates from a large church in the centre of Penarth which is well used by a number of groups within the community” . Although the building itself  has suitable facilities to provide the service they offer, the outside space is small. It’s pointed out that there is no direct access to the outside play space or to the girls toilets, so children must always be accompanied by staff.

Groups of up to 16 children can go out at a time – but CSSIW inspectors recommend that  “the outdoor space be further developed with additional resources and ensuring that the yard area is not visible to the public”.

The inspection report says “We saw evidence of significant improvements since the last inspection”. There were no areas of non compliance arising from this inspection but the inspectors recommended that Bear Pak should ensure:-

 Supervision for Person in Control is formalised and recorded;
 promote the use of incidental Welsh;
 ensure drinking water is consistently available for children;
 consider developing the outside area and ensure privacy outside;
 ensure outside activities are prepared in advance of children’s arrival and
 minor amendments required to complaints policy and accident/incident

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  1. Penileaks says:

    Excellent news for a worthy organisation, but when the inspectors called, they either must have been wearing ear defenders, or the kids wearing gags !
    As for, “when children needed to be reminded or prompted regarding their behaviour, they responded appropriately and were calm, respectful and able to continue to enjoy their play. …’, the Inspectors should have perhaps spoken to the local residents and asked the Bear Pak management if they had ever had any complaints regarding their operation.
    Please don’t misunderstand me regarding these comments, I have children of my own and as all who have or have had children know, they can be extremely noisy at times, but this has to be controlled as best as possible to keep ones own family and any neighbours unaffected by so much noise that normal life becomes impossible and indeed uncomfortable. This does not happen often at Bear Pak and it is fairly obvious that the carers either abandon the children whilst they are outside, or that they are in fact already deaf.!
    As a neighbour to the church, I am more than happy, as are other neighbours, that the church is used for the many different uses that it is used for, including the bear Pak group and it is wonderful to hear the kids there playing and enjoying themselves, but often the screaming is so loud and so prolonged, that it is obvious that there is no supervision, or teaching the kids to play properly.
    My message: Carry on the good work, but try to teach the kids some decent noise behaviour.

  2. snoggerdog says:

    slipknots extended family.

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