The education watchdog has accused bosses at a Houghton school of presiding over a ‘decline in pupils’ progress’.
Ofsted published the findings of its latest inspection of Kepier School this week, marking it ‘Requires Improvement’ in all areas.
Just three years ago the school was officially found to be ‘Good’.
However, assessors also acknowledged that school leaders were already aware of problems and were working on improvement plans.
According to the report: “Leaders have not been effective in preventing the decline in pupils’ progress that has taken place since the previous inspection.
“Consequently, the amount of progress pupils made, overall, has decreased and now requires improvement.
“Leaders do not have sufficiently high aspirations for all pupils.
“Some targets, set by leaders, for pupils’ attainment are not challenging enough and do not lead pupils to make the progress they are capable of.”
As well as ‘inconsistent’ teaching across subjects, inspectors found pupils were not being challenged enough to fulfil their potential.
This was the case for all youngsters, but particularly the case for those with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).
And governors responsible for overseeing the school were also criticised for failing to properly scrutinise leaders over the use of funding for disadvantaged pupils.
However, teachers were also praised for a ‘back to basics’ approach to improving the quality of teaching, but conceded it was ‘too soon’ to see the full impact of the changes.
Pupils were also said to feel ‘safe’, while bullying was dealt with ‘promptly’ by staff when they were alerted to it.
Nicola Cooper, the school’s principal and who was described as ‘passionate’ by assessors, said the inspection had followed what she called a ‘blip year’ for academic performance.
She added: “I agree the results weren’t good enough, but Ofsted were confident that we did have the capacity to deal with it.
“The thing they did say was that there was a disconnect between what they saw in lessons and the results.”
According Ofsted’s report, the inspection was prompted by a complaint which raised ‘serious concerns’ about safeguarding.
Measures at the school were found to be ‘effective’ and any issues ‘dealt with swiftly and appropriately followed up’.
James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service