A SECONDARY school has been rated ‘inadequate’ following an inspection by the education watchdog.

Ofsted visited The Hermitage Academy, in Chester-le-Street, in October and their findings have now been published.

The quality of teaching and outcomes for pupils were found to be ‘inadequate’, while the effectiveness of leadership, personal development and 16 to 19 study programme were classed as ‘requires improvement’.

The report said: “The current progress of pupils overall remains poor, particularly that of the most able pupils and disadvantaged pupils.

“There is too much low-level disruption in lessons, both within and across subjects, which remains unchecked and limits the progress of pupils.”

The five-strong inspection team, led by Barry Found, judged the school overall to be ‘inadequate’, the lowest possible rating.

It means Ofsted will return to the school for another visit sometime before October 2020.

The report said: “The quality of teaching, learning and assessment is far too variable.

“Teachers do not consider pupils’ starting points well enough. Pupils find some of the work too easy because it does not stretch and challenge them.

“Until very recently, leaders’ checks on the quality of teaching, learning and assessment have not accurately identified where improvements were needed. “Over time, leaders have not implemented an effective strategy to improve the academic progress of those pupils who are disadvantaged or pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities.”

Inspectors found leaders now have an accurate view of the school’s weaknesses and are taking the appropriate actions to make the improvements which are urgently required.

It was said governors have taken appropriate steps to secure additional support from external school improvement professionals.

Academy principal Felicity Smith said: “Although we are disappointed to have received an ‘inadequate’ rating, it is important to recognise that steps to rectify this were already in place, and that additional measures will now be taken to ensure that improvements are made quickly and efficiently.

“Our attendance levels remain high, and Ofsted recognised that the teaching standards in our sixth form have already improved, so we envisage that we will be able to emulate this across the entire school.

“We will endeavour to respond to any individual questions or concerns as quickly as possible.”