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Leader Wayne Fitzgerald's blog - 1 September

01 September 2023

Working in the children’s home sector is not an easy task – and sometimes we need to recognise the hard work of those who are in the profession, especially when they turn a difficult situation around.

That’s one reason that we are so delighted with the latest Ofsted report for Clare Lodge, which has gone from an inadequate rating to good in less than a year thanks to the efforts of many dedicated people.

The Lodge is run by the council and is the only all-female children’s home offering welfare placements in the UK to children and young people.

Inspectors visited across two days in July and found that children at the home are now making good progress in all areas of their lives, can express themselves and are supported to develop and grow. Ofsted found that children have good relationships with the staff, which supports their progress and ensures that they have positive experiences.

Management were also praised for making effective changes, with the report highlighting that managers have focused on improving the quality of care provided to children. It also noted that management monitoring and oversight systems are providing managers with effective ways of scrutinising staff performance.

We were disappointed at the findings of the last report in September 2022 and everyone resolved to work to change the situation. That journey is now bearing fruit and we will continue to improve – but congratulations to all of those who have helped the home progress so far.

Looking ahead to next week, our children and young people will be getting ready to return to school or college.

Some will be going to school for the first time, and as we reported earlier this year, the percentage of children offered their first choices has risen to 97.1% for primary school pupils, and 90.6% for secondary school pupils.

It’s a time of great excitement and maybe a few nerves, but as we saw in the past few weeks with the impressive A Level and GCSE results, our schools generally offer excellent education and choices for our youngsters.

We want to give our young people the best possible start in life, and also for them to enjoy living and studying in the city; whether it’s at primary school or at our new university. They say that the school years are the best years of your life, and we are doing our best to make sure that’s true.

The Great Eastern Run is returning on 15 October, again being organised by Good Running Events after a successful stint last year. For the first time the route goes past Peterborough Cathedral which will give runners something to aim towards when they’re starting to flag!

If you’re still undecided if you want to take part, you may have seen the regular fortnight sessions that are put on at Bushfield Sports Centre on alternate Wednesdays, from 7pm.

The organisers are also appealing for volunteers for the day, for a number of roles, and if you’d like to find out more go to

In addition, although it might only be August, the Cresset is looking for participants for their pantomime – oh yes they are!

Wizard of Oz is this year’s performance, from December 14 to 31, starring former Eastenders actor Cheryl Fergison. The Cresset always makes a point of including local performers in the production, and there are two audition times for this Sunday (3 September) for different age groups.

So if you or a friend or family member fancy yourself as a stage star, why not give it a go? You can find out more at

Finally, can I just thank the organisers of the Peterborough Beer Festival for another sparkling event. The weather was kind and it was brilliant to see how well-attended the Embankment was across the five days.

For any event to hit 44 years is quite an achievement, and there were many positive comments across social media about the team, the organisation, and of course the brews themselves.

Here’s to its return in 2024!