ST Austin’s Catholic Primary School has been told by Ofsted it ‘requires improvement’.

The Thatto Heath school, which was previously judged to be ‘good’, was inspected by the education watchdog over two days in July.

While it was deemed ‘good’ in two of the six areas judged as part of the inspection, St Austin’s received an overall judgement of ‘requires improvement.

Inspectors found that too few pupils reach the expected standard or better in reading, writing and mathematics.

Although the report says leaders’ actions to improve teaching and learning are having a “positive effect” on pupils’ progress in reading and mathematics in several year groups.

“The head teacher is an experienced leader who knows the school and pupils well,” the report says.

“She and senior leaders have recognised, with honesty and accuracy, that pupils’ achievement in recent years in reading, writing and mathematics has not been good enough.

“Although they have devised suitable action plans for improvement, these have not yet had a consistently strong impact on pupils’ progress and attainment in these subjects.”

The quality of teaching is not yet high enough to ensure that almost all pupils achieve good outcomes in reading, writing and mathematics, the report says.

In 2017, Year 6 pupils performed poorly in tests in reading and mathematics, although they improved on the results they achieved at the end of 2016.

Attainment and progress were substantially below the national average.

“Unvalidated assessment information for 2018 shows that there has been another slight improvement in performance by the current Year 6 pupils compared with 2017,” the report says.

“However, attainment in reading, writing and mathematics is still considerably below the national average.”

The report says too few current pupils in Year 2 have reached the expected standard for their age in reading, writing and mathematics.

However, most pupils across the school make good progress in subjects other than English and mathematics.

In addition, children in early years make “strong progress” by the time they leave reception year, with Ofsted rating the early years provision as ‘good’.

Pupils who have special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities also make good progress, inspectors found.

The report says leaders have created a caring and nurturing environment where pupils feel safe and enjoy their learning.

The behaviour of pupils was also praised, with inspectors describing most children as “polite and confident”.

Pupils’ absence and persistent absence rates are an area of concern, however.

Leaders have a wide range of actions in place to encourage good attendance, the report says.

These include rewards for pupils who have high attendance.

“The rate of absence is currently just above the national average,” the report says.

“Persistent absence is substantially above the national average.

“However, the poor attendance of specific pupils, with issues such as mental health needs, has a significant impact on this figure.”

St Austin’s head teacher, Patsy Wade, said the school will continue to work with its partners to attain a ‘good’ judgement in the future.

She said: “I welcome the report from Ofsted as we recognise the need to improve outcomes for our pupils.

“We will continue to work closely with the local authority, the Archdiocese and our network of schools in St Helens to secure a judgement of at least ‘good’ in the near future.

She added: “I am really pleased that Ofsted recognised our strengths and the good features of our school, including our early years provision; pupils’ conduct; provision for pupils with SEN and the work already undertaken by leaders to promote improvements in teaching and learning.

“They also recognised our caring and nurturing environment founded in the Roman Catholic ethos of the school, where pupils feel safe and enjoy their learning.”