MAJOR staff changes and absences which have led to “little consistency for pupils” have seen a Witham school go from 'outstanding' to 'requires improvement'.

Maltings Academy, in Spinks Lane, was told it must improve following a new report from watchdogs.

The Ofsted report said: “Pupils’ experiences at the Maltings have been affected by an unsettled and turbulent time for the school.

“Significant staff changes and absence meant there was little consistency for pupils.

“This has reduced the overall quality of their experience.

“Expectations of how well pupils should behave and achieve are not consistently high enough.”

However, the report highlighted how the school is working hard to turn things around, describing leaders at all levels as “tenacious in their approach to school improvement”.

It said: “Recent changes are starting to make a significant difference.

“More and more staff are beginning to ask more of pupils and most pupils are responding well to these rising expectations, with pupils feeling well supported in their work.

“The school is doing a lot of work to shift their established culture. This will take time, but hearts and minds are beginning to change.

“Parents attending ‘listening events’ talk positively of the work of the school.

“Leaders work closely with staff, pupils and parents to highlight the impact of their work on pupils’ school experience.”

The report said the school's “well-planned and considered curriculum”  was also accessible to special needs pupils, and how safeguarding is effective, with bullying not an issue at the school.

A spokesman for the Academies Enterprise Trust, which runs the school, said: “Whilst Maltings has been through a challenging few years, we are obviously disappointed by Ofsted’s headline judgement. 

“There is, however, encouraging commentary from Ofsted’s inspection team.

“Maltings is, unquestionably, in a much stronger position than it was in the summer term last year.

“Ofsted’s report acknowledges we have taken decisive action and these changes are starting to make a difference.

“Whilst it’s important to recognise these early signs of improvements, we are clear there is a need to build on these at pace.

“Our executive principal, Michelle Hughes, supported by our regional education director Johanna Thompson, has a clear plan in place to drive further improvements and is focusing on improving behaviour, addressing gaps in knowledge for older students and improving our engagement with parents over the coming terms.

“The whole team is committed to doing everything necessary to make sure that Maltings once again becomes an excellent school.

“Whilst we are not there yet, led by Ms Hughes and her new team, we are confident that our plan will make sure we have excellence in every classroom, every day, for every pupil.”