A SECONDARY school in Christchurch has been rated as ‘inadequate’ by the education watchdog.

The Grange School in Somerford, was criticised in the Ofsted report for the “poor” behaviour and attendance of its students.

Despite acknowledging some improvements since the appointment of a new headteacher, Jane Asplin-Locke, in 2016, inspectors rated the school as ‘inadequate’ in two of five categories and also gave it the lowest overall rating possible.

Low achievement in GCSE exams over the last two years was highlighted as a particular area of weakness in the report, which was published on Friday.

“Leaders have not acted swiftly enough to improve the quality of education provided by the school,” the report says.

“In 2015, the academy was formed, and the school joined the Twynham Learning Trust.

“Governors and senior leaders were too slow to capitalise on this arrangement and so pupils did not initially benefit from these developments.

“For example, leaders did not deal with pupils’ poor attendance and behaviour effectively. They did not act quickly enough to improve poor teaching.

“Recent developments, however, such as the appointment of new staff, have begun to tackle key issues that the school faces.”

Inspectors have also directed criticism at the school’s use of funding to improve education for its disadvantaged pupils whose progress is described as “typically slow”.

However, Ofsted has not put the school into special measures.

It has issued a number of ways to improve standards including improving achievement at GCSE level, "urgently" raising attendance, ensuring that pupils behave well, improving the effectiveness of management and raising teaching standards.

A further recommendation that an external review of the school's use of pupil premium be undertaken was also put forward in the report.

In a letter sent out to parents, Twynham Learning Trust trustees chairwoman, Debbie Place, and the headteacher of partner school Twynham School, Jy Taylor, said: “As you can imagine we are extremely disappointed by this judgement as you no doubt will also be.

“However, we fully accept the accuracy of the report and are committed to putting into place the recommendations Ofsted have made.

“With the publication of the report, it is now time to look forward and continue to address the issues raised and that you as parents are most concerned about – that is ensuring that your children receive the high quality education that they deserve where students are supported to reach their full potential.”

A meeting for parents of students at the school to discuss the issues raised in the report will be held on Thursday evening.