A DORSET school ‘requires improvement’ after Ofsted inspectors found pupils’ progress in mathematics and progress of disadvantaged children was far below the national average.

Ofsted inspected The Blandford School in Milldown Road in January and the school was given a ‘requires improvement’ rating in all areas except 16 to 19 study programmes, which was rated ‘good’.

Inspectors found in 2016 and 2017 that outcomes at GCSE level for mathematics were "significantly below national expectations".

The report said this was being addressed by the school and pupils’ progress was improving, however there remained “a legacy of underachievement in mathematics”.

In 2017, pupils’ progress in English, languages and humanities also fell below the national average.

Inspector found disadvantaged pupils underachieved relative to others nationally and have done so over time. The report said leaders had not tackled this weakness successfully in the main school and had not ensured that pupil premium funding is spent effectively.

It added leaders had improved disadvantaged students’ progress in the sixth form.

In the report, lead inspector David New said: “The quality of teaching, learning and assessment is too variable. Historically, there has been weak progress for pupils over time in some core subjects due to poor teaching. Leaders have addressed this in most areas but there are still pockets of weaker practice.

"In mathematics, the legacy of some poor teaching in previous years is still evident in the achievement of pupils in the school.”

The report said governors had not held school leaders to account and, as a result, allowed aspects of the school’s underperformance to go unchecked, such as the performance of disadvantaged pupils.

It added teachers’ management of pupils’ behaviour was inconsistent and a ‘significant’ number of pupils and parents felt too much learning was disrupted by poor behaviour.

Despite the criticism, they also highlighted the strengths of the school.

Inspectors praised pupils’ behaviour and said they show respect and courtesy for one another and adults. The report found leadership in the sixth form was strong.

The quality of teaching, learning and assessment in the sixth form was far more consistent than in the rest of the school. Teachers had high expectations of students’ achievement and behaviour and, as a result, standards in the sixth form were rising.

A school spokesman said the governing board were "delighted" the progress and attainment of students in their sixth form had been recognised by inspectors.

“The school has performed well for a number of years but unfortunately this inspection followed a set of GCSE results in the summer of 2017 which were not as good as previous years.”

They added: “The board and headteacher would like to reassure parents the majority of points raised in the report were already being addressed. The school as a whole will be eager for the outcomes of improvement work to be fully recognised when they are reinspected in 2020 and look forward to ensuring a ‘good’ outcome."