Big improvements in the running of Slough's child fostering service have been noted by Government inspectors after last year's devastating 'inadequate' rating.

But they have also warned that a high turnover of managers and levels of staff sickness are leaving foster carers frustrated.

Fostering in the borough is managed by the Slough Children's Service Trust, an independent, not for profit agency that currently supports 46 fostering households looking after 57 children and young people.

The service was judged inadequate during a full inspection in April, 2019 although two follow-up visits by the Ofsted inspectors last year found that four requirements for immediate improvement had been met.

This year's inspection in May was hampered by the COVID-19 lockdown and had to be restricted to telephone conversations with managers, social workers and foster carers.

The resulting report published on Friday praises service manager Saima Arif for improving the training of staff and says: "Her appointment means that the staff and foster carers have benefited from improving stability."

But it warns: "The high turnover of practice managers and staff sickness within the team has resulted in foster carers feeling frustrated about the continual changes in relationships. These factors also hamper the pace of the overall improvement journey."

The report is positive about changes made by Ms Arif, which include extending the process of finding a foster home beyond standard working hours.

It says: "This has helped to ensure that foster carers are involved in children’s moves from the beginning in a planned way. A recent example .... showed that there is a strong focus on ensuring that the move is right for the child and for the children already living there."

Miss Arif said: “We were disappointed not to have a full inspection due to Covid.

“However, we welcomed the opportunity during the visit to show Ofsted how far the IFA has progressed since its full inspection in April 2019 and the monitoring visit in August 2019.”