THE leadership at a Southampton school has been branded inadequate in a "disappointing" watchdog report.

Highfield Church of England Primary School has been given a damning Ofsted inspection grade due to poor management and leadership.

In one instance, it was found that leaders had not "persistently pursued" effective support for a child who was at risk of harm.

The school on Hawthorn Road was given an overall grade of "inadequate" in the report published on March 24.

However, only one out of five categories - leadership and management - were given a poor grade.

The quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, and personal development were all rated as "good", and early years provision was rated "outstanding".

Inspectors found that leaders do not "prioritise the well-being of all staff".

The report states that a significant proportion of the staff at the school feel that it is not well-led, with a quarter of staff raising concerns about their well-being.

Staff said their workload is not taken into account when new policies and procedures are put in place.

Inspectors also found that safeguarding arrangements are not effective, and concerns over safeguarding are "not always followed up" by those in charge.

The report said: "Records lack precision, omit detail about leaders’ actions and are incomplete or inaccessible.

"Safeguarding records were accessible to staff who should not have had access.

"Governors have not fulfilled their statutory duty to ensure these processes are in line with their policy and are sufficiently robust to keep children safe."

In response to the report, Helen Thompson, chair of governors for Highfield, said: “While Ofsted have highlighted positively the education and experience that the children of Highfield School receive, the inspection also identified a number of significant issues.

"This has been hugely disappointing for us as a school community.

“We have implemented urgent actions as a result of the findings.

"We have already put in place a new IT system, to store safeguarding records securely and safely, staff training, and better coordination with outside agencies to improve our practice still further."

Jeff Williams, director of education at the Diocese of Winchester, said: “Although Ofsted have commended the teaching and values at Highfield Primary School, they have also identified some significant issues that require attention. 

"The governors have acted quickly to address the challenges highlighted by Ofsted, and the Diocese is providing ongoing assistance to the governors and staff.

“I want to express my support for the whole school community as they work through these challenges, and to reassure parents and pupils that the Diocese is supporting the governors as they act to rectify the concerns raised by Ofsted.”