PUPILS are “not getting the education they deserve” at a Basingstoke junior school which has been graded as “inadequate”.

Marnel Junior School, in Shetland Road, Popley, was visited by Ofsted in February, and a report, published four months later, has graded it as “inadequate” overall.

It was previously graded as “good” in 2016.

The report, published on June 25, said: “Most pupils want to do well and enjoy their learning. Too many have not reached their potential, however. Leaders’ expectations of what pupils can achieve across the curriculum and of pupils’ behaviour have been too low.”

The newly appointed acting headteacher, Tijhs Jordan, was said to be “determined to change this”.

Ofsted found that pupils feel safer now that behaviour has started to improve, adding: “Around the school we saw polite and friendly pupils who were mostly engaged in their learning.”

However, not all pupils felt that all staff dealt with bullying incidents effectively.

Ofsted graded the quality of education at Marnel as “inadequate”.

The report said: “Pupils have not been getting the education that they deserve as the quality seen at the last inspection was not sustained. This is now beginning to change, but there is still much to do.

“The acting headteacher and his leadership team have identified the right key areas for improvement. Important steps to improve weaknesses in, for example, the curriculum and behaviour have started to be implemented recently.”

The education watchdog found that many pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) “do not achieve as well as they should across the curriculum”.

It added: “They are not sufficiently prepared for the next stage in their learning. This is because they do not gain the knowledge they need across a range of subjects. This leads to significant gaps in their understanding and knowledge. Curriculum plans, particularly in the foundation subjects, have not been well thought through and have lacked ambition.”

Inspectors found that staff do not “fully understand the needs” of pupils with SEND.

Attendance was reported to be “in line with national averages” but a “significant minority of pupils, many of who are those with SEND, are persistently absent from school”.

While behaviour was found to be improving, Ofsted found a minority of pupils “still disrupt other pupils’ learning”.

Safeguarding at Marnel, which has 407 pupils on roll, was found to be “effective”.

The school has been asked to make various improvements, including helping pupils with SEND progress in their learning; continuing with plans to make sure that all staff have the skills and knowledge to teach phonics and reading; and reducing the number of pupils who are persistently absent.

Steve Matthews, chair of governors for Marnel Junior School, said: “We respect the judgement from Ofsted and can confirm that, as the inspectors have recognised in their report, Mr Jordan, the acting headteacher and his leadership team had already identified the key areas for improvement.

“To address these areas, they have a robust action plan in place which we, as governors, have endorsed. We will continue to monitor the school’s improvement journey, in line with Ofsted’s reported findings and the children’s achievements as we go forward.

“We have every confidence in Mr Jordan’s stewardship of the school and his ability to strengthen the team, the quality of teaching and the curriculum content. Good progress has already been made and the children will benefit from this and its contribution to their bright futures.”