ACTION is being taken to improve a Southampton school after watchdogs judged it “inadequate”.

City bosses and school leaders have come together to improve education at St Monica Primary School after Ofsted inspectors rated the school as “inadequate”.

This is the lowest rate and a rate lower than the one the school received by watchdogs in 2017.

The school, in Bay Road, Sholing, has 596 pupils aged four to 11 years old.

Inspectors acknowledged that “necessary, rapid improvements” are being made. 

But in their latest report they said the quality of teaching, although improving, “is too inconsistent” and “because of this, pupils do not learn as much as they should”.

 It comes as the report revealed that Southampton City Council provided regular support to the school last year “as a result of a sharp decline in standards” and it  brought in an interim headteacher.

The overall effectiveness of the school and the early year provision were judged inadequate while behaviour and attitude, personal development and leadership and management were rated as “requires improvement”.

In their report inspectors said: “Teachers deliver lessons without being fully aware of what pupils have learned before. Leaders have not prioritised teaching pupils to read. Too many staff lack the skills needed to teach reading well. Pupils desperately tried to find books to read to inspectors. However, many books on offer are badly matched to pupils’ reading levels. This hinders their progress.”

Watchdogs said “too many pupils have underachieved” and “many pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) do not learn well”.

But  inspectors also highlighted how  recent training is having “a clear impact on pupils”.

They added: “Behaviour has recently improved dramatically. Staff have clearer, higher expectations.  Leaders across the school now have an excellent understanding of what needs to improve and the skills to achieve this. They rightly act with urgency. Governors have learned from mistakes that allowed standards to decline.”

Helen Sanger, chair of governors of St. Monica Primary School, said: “We absolutely accept that the school needs to do better.

"While we recognise that there is still room for considerable improvement, we are pleased that the Ofsted inspectors have recognised the rapid improvements already made. I have every confidence that we can sustain these improvements and make sure that children are consistently getting the best start in life.”

Gehane Gordelier, a former HMI schools inspector who has been working  with the school to address the areas identified by Ofsted, said reading has been prioritised and improved and the school has invested in new books which match pupils’ needs.

Derek Wiles, head of education at Southampton City Council, said the council will continue to work with the school.

Cllr Dan Fitzhenry added: "We know that the school has been suffering with some difficulties and the report clearly shows that the school is on the path to improve and we as local councillors will do everything we can to work with the council and the school to ensure that the school continues to improve."