LEADERSHIP and teaching at a west Dorset primary academy school has been criticised as it was rated as 'requires improvement' by Ofsted.

Beaminster St Mary's Academy was inspected in January and has now been handed the 'requires improvement' rating.

The school was rated as requires improvement in effectiveness of leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, personal development, behaviour and welfare and outcomes for pupils.

It was rated as good in early years provision by the inspectors.

The report criticised the school's leaders, governors, middle leaders and the teaching.

It stated: "Leaders, including governors, have been too generous in their evaluations of pupils' outcomes and the quality of teaching.

"As a result, there are still inconsistencies in teaching and learning, which slows pupils' progress.

"Governors do not hold school leaders strongly enough to account in pursuing identified weaknesses.

Governors’ questions do not lead to fast enough improvements in teaching and learning.

"Middle leaders do not yet make a strong contribution to improvements in the school, especially in English and mathematics. Consequently, the quality of teaching in these subjects remains too inconsistent.

"There are still too many weaknesses in the teaching of basic mathematical and writing skills. This means that pupils across the school are not well enough supported to meet their full potential, including the most able.

"Weaker teaching does not challenge or support pupils effectively. As a result, pupils can become distracted or lose interest and the quality of their work suffers."

The report also criticised leaders' plans and actions for often lacking the precision and detail needed to ensure that those pupils who have fallen behind can catch up quickly.

It stated that this means not enough pupils are meeting the standards expected of them by the time they leave the school.

However, the school said that the result shows a 'marked improvement' from the last inspection in 2013, which saw it put into special measures and led it to convert to an academy under the Diocese of Salisbury Academy Trust.

The report did praise the school for recent action, early years teaching and pastoral care.

Inspector Stewart Gale said: "Leaders' recent actions are effective. Teaching is starting to improve outcomes for pupils.

"Teaching in the early years is effective. Children get a good start to their education and are well prepared for the next stage in their learning.

"The teaching of phonics is good. Pupils' outcomes in the year one phonics check are rapidly improving.

"Leaders' pastoral care for vulnerable pupils is effective."

Jessica Teasdale, chairman of the Local Governing Board at the school, said: “Governors are working with the school to make improvement plans tighter and more precise, to secure the best outcomes for the children as the school continues to improve.

“All staff and governors, together with DSAT, are committed to ensuring all pupils achieve to their full potential.”

Headteacher, Teri Goodinson, said that the staff, together with governors, have worked very hard to pull the school out of special measures and are determined to continue the drive to improve outcomes for all pupils.