A PREVIOUSLY outstanding school has been ordered to improve the way it deals with student's "boisterous" behaviour.

Ofsted has rated Powers Hall Academy in Spa Road, Witham, requires improvement in all areas following a recent inspection.

The school, which caters for children aged seven to 11, has been criticised by inspectors for failing to address concerns about behaviour and not allowing pupils the chance to put their knowledge into practice.

Academy trustees say they accept the findings published in a report but say SATs results show standards have not slipped.

They are due to hold a meeting with parents tonight to discuss the contents of the Ofsted report.

The document, which was published following an inspection in early December, does offer some praise for safeguarding policies and the strength of reading and writing among pupils in the school.

But it is critical of the way bad behaviour is dealt with by teachers and says the inconsistency of teaching means the quality of education is undermined.

It states: "At the moment, behaviour is overly boisterous, and, in too many subjects, the quality of education is not as good as it should be.

"School leaders and trust leaders know the weaknesses and are in the process of addressing them. At this stage, their work has not had sufficient impact.

"Out of lessons, pupils’ behaviour is not good enough. Pupils talk of play fights ‘going too far’ and of graffiti in the toilets.

"Breaktime and lunchtime can be unruly, and staff do not manage inappropriate behaviour as well as they should.

"Some teachers have high expectations of pupils; others less so. This inconsistency is reflected in the way pupils work, behave and achieve. Pupils’ behaviour and achievements are too variable across the school."

Inspectors did however find there to be no cases of bullying and say pupils are confident such incidents would be dealt with by staff.

Powers Hall was rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted during it's last inspection back in 2012.

This was the first time it had been inspected since it turned into an academy back in 2013.

A spokesman for the school said: "Trustees, although disappointed, accept the new judgement.

"However, they are not convinced that standards have slipped as Powers Hall Academy have been and are consistently in the top ten per cent of Essex schools for Key Stage 2 outcomes, having achieved well above both Essex and national outcomes for the last eight years.

"Trustees are not complacent and will continue with the staffing realignment which the executive team began in September 2019, which the report recognises is already having impact.

"Trustees recognize that a robust approach will be required to ensure transition arrangements for incoming pupils in 2020 and future years."