A SCHOOL made famous in the popular television series Educating Greater Manchester is "failing its pupils", the Government's education watchdog has found.

The controversy-hit Harrop Fold School has been placed into special measures by Ofsted, which found it inadequate in all areas, stating that "significant and wide-ranging weaknesses have developed over time".

The damning report stated: "This school has failed its pupils in far too many ways. It has let down its pupils in the past and, despite very recent changes, continues to do so with those pupils who currently attend the school."

The school was previously deemed good in an Ofsted report in 2013.

Council bosses said that the department for education had started the process of turning the school into an academy.

Ofsted inspectors found that some pupils had been taken off-roll temporarily which would lead to their examination results not being counted in the school performance tables.

The curriculum was criticised with inspectors stating: "These failures mean that pupils are poorly prepared for their future lives as successful citizens in modern Britain."

Ofsted reported examples of pupils disrupting lessons, swearing at each other and sometimes at staff.

"Some pupils prefer to use their mobile telephones in lessons rather than complete the work set," said inspectors, who added: "the number of pupils who do not attend their lessons but choose to wander around the school is of particular concern."

Drew Povey, who was head teacher during the TV series, quit in September after he was suspended alongside three other staff members due to "administrative errors".

In his resignation letter, Mr Povey said he took full responsibility for the errors, which involved how attendance, exclusions and home schooling were being recorded, but claimed he had been unfairly treated.

Following his resignation an interim head teacher, Damian Owen, was appointed, provided by the Greater Manchester Learning Trust.

Salford deputy city mayor John Merry said the report identified and highlighted "unsafe historic practices" at Harrop Fold school.

He said: “The Ofsted inspectors have identified and highlighted unsafe historic practices at the school, along with poor performance and achievement.

“Practices include the inappropriate, informal exclusion of pupils, deliberate mis-recording of attendance and weak practice in staff recruitment. This has potentially compromised the safeguarding of pupils as leaders and staff have not been in a position to ensure that they are safe.

“I want to reassure all parents that, since the start of the September term, the interim senior leadership team provided by the local authority has stopped these practices. Moreover, Ofsted inspectors highlighted the current leadership as a strength for the school.

“The Greater Manchester Learning Trust, which is providing the interim leadership, is committed to working alongside a new academy sponsor to provide stability and support for as long as needed.

“I know there is a committed and hardworking team at Harrop Fold who want to do the very best for pupils. They should draw positives from the report in which Ofsted says new approaches introduced in many aspects of school life are having a real impact, even if they are at an early stage. It is important the whole school community gets behind the changes and works to common goals.

“There has been a lot of speculation in the community regarding hidden agendas. Once again I want to reaffirm to everyone that the school, governors and local authority all want the same thing – for Harrop Fold pupils to be happy, safe and achieve their best.”

In a letter to parents published online, Mr Owen and councillor Kate Lewis, chairwoman of governors, said staff were disappointed by the report but determined to "improve the school rapidly".