A SPECIALIST school for young people who cannot be taught in mainstream education is continuing fail its pupils, inspectors have found ­­- nine years since it was first told improvements must be made.

The secondary pupil referral unit in Spring Lane, Radcliffe, has again been rated ‘Requires Improvement’ by the education watchdog, Ofsted, following a recent inspection.

Spring Lane School is a purpose-built unit, located on three sites comprising the former Radcliffe Riverside High School, Park House in Chesham and Milltown House in Bury town centre, which currently caters to 89 pupils.

Its main site opened in January 2016 following the relocation of the facility, then known as the Pupil Learning Centre, from New Summerseat House.

Prior to 2011, the organisation had been rated ‘Good’ by the watchdog. But in that year it was rated ‘Satisfactory’ ­- a label later ditched by the Department for Education, in favour of 'Requires Improvement' ­- and in 2012 inspectors found inconsistent teaching, a lack of academic progress and pupils flouting school rules and playing truant.

The unit has since been unable to shake off this rating and, in its recently-published report, Ofsted found it to be ‘Good’ only in the area of personal development.

The main issue highlighted by inspectors, following a visit in March, was a difference in the quality of education offered at key stages 3 and 4.

However, a ‘clear direction and vision’ for key stage 3 was said to have now been secured and agreed with the local authority.

School leaders, the watchdog said, must now plan ‘an ambitious curriculum that will meet the needs of the pupils’.

In their report they recommended that a more consistent approach needs to be taken to help the PRU improve.

They further noted that the long-term absence and recent resignation of the unit’s headteacher have been a ‘challenge’ for the school.

However, an interim headteacher is currently in charge, and school governance was said to have been strengthened by the appointment of ‘skilled and suitably experienced governors’.

Bury Secondary PRU Spring Lane School and Bury Council were approached for comment.