A north Norfolk primary school judged “good” by Ofsted three years ago has now been graded “inadequate”.

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A government inspector found that there were serious weaknesses in both the quality of teaching and achievement of pupils at Antingham and Southrepps Primary, near North Walsham.

The just-published Ofsted report, by lead inspector Rob McKeown, says that since its last inspection the school has had two changes of head teacher and “several changes in teaching staff.” Current head, Julia Howse, was appointed in January this year.

Among his findings Mr McKeown reported that: “Insufficient emphasis has been placed on pupils acquiring literacy and numeracy skills, and this has adversely affected their progress in English and mathematics”.

Teaching did not take enough account of children’s individual learning needs, more-able pupils were given work which was too easy, younger children made slow progress in reading because their knowledge of phonics - word sounds - was “patchy” and they were not able to read to an adult often enough, they were given too few opportunities to write and there were also weaknesses in the teaching of calculation skills and other maths.

The children’s behaviour and safety, and the leadership and management of the school were judged to “require improvement”.

Mr McKeown said Miss Howes had already had some success in tackling areas of weakness. Behaviour was better, teaching was improving and there was a “much sharper focus” on raising standards in English and maths.

But he said: “teaching is not yet at a level to secure consistently good progress for all pupils.”

The inspector praised the reconstituted and trained governing body and said pupils’ attendance had improved and they felt safe in school.

Chairman of governors Neil Primrose said nothing was more important than the opportunities and life chances of the children.

“As soon as it became clear that all was not well with the outcomes for our children we were able to appoint a new head teacher with the skills and courage to change things and as a result we start 2014 with over an 80pc new teaching force, following an extremely rigorous selection process,” he added.

The school now had the expertise and strong leadership needed to quickly return it to “good or better”.

Miss Howse said she had appreciated continued parental support, particularly through times of high staff absence.

She added: “I have no doubt that we will be able to provide all our children with the best education possible and we are looking forward to celebrating those successes together in 2014.”

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