A FAILING school has been placed in special measures by education watchdogs.
After a recent inspection, South Hetton Primary School was rated as inadequate in four out of five areas, leadership, teaching, achievement and early years.
It was also found to need improvement in the behaviour and safety of pupils.
Inspectors said strengths of the Frederick Terrace school are the curriculum and other activities which give opportunities for pupils’ personal development, and almost all pupils behave well, form positive relationships and treat each other with respect.
A report into the school said: “Senior leaders have failed to act decisively to reverse the decline in pupils’ achievement and to address inadequate teaching over time. Systems to check the school’s performance lack rigour; as a result, judgements about the school’s performance are inaccurate.
“Too many children leave Reception without the essential skills that they need to make a successful start to their learning in Year 1. Pupils make inadequate progress in their reading, writing and mathematics by the end of Year 2.”
Inspectors said the attainment gaps between disadvantaged pupils and their classmates are not closing quickly enough, too few pupils have a real enthusiasm for learning and governors do not have the skills to hold the school to account.
To improve, inspectors said the school needs to urgently improve leadership and management at all levels, including governance, eradicate all inadequate teaching and improve the quality of provision in the early years so that all children, regardless of their starting points, achieve at least well.
Caroline O’Neill, Durham County Council’s head of education, said: “There are clear positive signs at the school, with pupils’ attainment at the end of Year 6 being in line with expected levels.
“This is despite achievement levels being below the average when children start school.
“However, inspectors found standards to be too low at the end of Key Stage 1 and we accept that if pupils achieve better in the early years and Key stage 1 they could reach even higher standards by the end of Key Stage 2.
“We will continue to support the school.”