A FAILING school has been put under special measures after Ofsted branded it inadequate in all areas.

Christ the King Catholic Primary school in Amesbury was previously rated good, but now the education watchdog says “urgent improvements” are needed after inspectors uncovered “widespread underachievement”.

A report published last week stated that the school’s leaders were “ineffective” and lacked the capacity to make the required changes. Inspectors found that:

  • Systems for checking pupils’ progress and development were “not fit for purpose”
  • Quality of teaching was poor and not properly checked
  • Safeguarding was ineffective. Concerns about pupil safety were not followed up
  • Expectations of pupils were too low
  • Teachers’ assessments were inaccurate and pupils persistently underachieved
  • Early years teaching was inadequate, learning environments were poor and assessment was weak
  • “Constant staff changes” were partly to blame
  • Disadvantaged pupils and those with special needs made too little progress
  • Some staff had not been checked for their suitability to work with children

Recent actions by governors had led to “some positive changes” and senior staff were working hard to address “endemic weaknesses”.

Governors had previously failed to “halt the decline” in standards, but recent changes were now having an impact, the report said.

Head teacher Jerome McCormack is currently on sick leave and a consultant head, Neil McDonough, has been brought in to turn the school’s fortunes around. Inspectors said the “tenacious” Mr McDonough was already making “swift inroads” after just three weeks.

Neither the chairman of governors, nor Mr McCormack, nor Mr McDonough, nor the Bishop of Clifton was available for comment.