A SCHOOL has been told it ‘requires improvement’ after having to rely on new teachers and those on supply contracts.

Ofsted said Sacred Heart RC School in Blackburn had seen ‘continual disruption’ with staff, causing slow progress with pupils’ writing standards. The NUT said fears over its potential closure caused problems with retaining experienced and permanent staff.

The Corporation Park school had been viewed as likely to close on the opening nearby of the Olive Islamic School, which will have places for more than 600 pupils. The ‘requires improvement’ rating was given to the Lynwood Road school, which had previously been rated as good.

Lead inspector Rebecca Lawton said the background to the report was the school’s ‘uncertain future’.

She said: “At the time of the inspection, a significant number of staff were recent new appointments to the school, a third were new to teaching and some were supply teachers on fixed-term contracts.” Inspectors also found that pupils’ skills in writing were not improving quickly enough to reach national expectations.

However the school was praised for improving reading skills and overseeing ‘particularly good progress’ in reception class.

Ms Lawton added: “Senior leaders have an accurate view of the school’s performance and know what needs to be done.

“They are working hard to minimise disruptions for pupils.”

Blackburn secretary for the NUT Simon Jones said: “This is the predictable result of the free schools’ policy which takes no account of the places already provided for pupils. We have said all along that it destabilises existing schools. In a situation like this, how can schools retain good staff?”

Humma Ahmed, head-teacher of Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, said: “The Ofsted report highlighted the significant improvements in our pupil’s reading skills and the ‘flying start’ the children get in the early years stage.

“We are working hard to improve attainment.”