BUCKLAND St Mary Primary School has been placed in special measures after inspectors found a catalogue of failings.

The school, which has 55 children, was rated 'good' by Ofsted in June 2010, and they kept up that good work for their interim assessment in February last year.

Now, inspectors have found a laundry list of worrying issues - including a lack of strong leadership, concerns over pupils' achievements and weak teaching.

In this month's Ofsted visit, lead inspector Jonathan Palk found children lacked a choice of good quality and stimulating resources, a lack of effective guidance and he said youngsters do not make enough progress over time.

He said children start school “typically above expectations” but by the end of year six, he said standards were “below average”.

He added: “The achievement of disabled pupils and those with special educational needs is inadequate.

“Teaching is too weak to ensure that pupils make enough progress to reach the standards of which they are capable. The weak teaching reflects teachers' low expectations.

“In the mixed-age and mixed-ability classes, teachers fail to provide pupils with a sufficiently wide range of experiences to deepen their understanding.”

A positive in the report found children play together extremely well and parents or carers reported the school as a safe place to be.

Bosses at the school say an action plan is being brought in through interim head teacher Connel Boyle, who replaced Nick Arnold in Easter on a shared-headship basis with Neroche Primary School, and new chair of governors Kevin Katner.

Mr Boyle said: “We need to recognise that standards of education have fallen far short of expectations and what parents should expect.

“The Ofsted report will assist me, the staff and the governing body to improve standards as quickly as possible.

“The increased scrutiny of the school will result in the improvement of the education provided to the children.

“The staff and governors would like to give their thanks to all the parents who have shown their support towards the school during an extended period of difficulty.”

Kevin Katner, the new chair of governors, added: “We accept the findings of our recent Ofsted inspection. We were already working hard to address the issues, inherited when we started here just a few weeks ago.

“We have extensive plans in place for the school to address our areas for development and we are particularly pleased the refreshed governing body has been recognised by Ofsted as 'effectively tackling the key issues and have successfully appointed an experienced head teacher for the short term'.”

The school is part of the Willow Schools Co-operative Trust which involves primary schools in Ashill, Winsham, Neroche and Combe St Nicholas.