A PREVIOUSLY outstanding school now requires improvement after a fall in standards.

The FitzWimarc School, in Hockley Road, Rayleigh, was criticised for the quality of teaching, learning and assessment after a visit from Ofsted inspectors.

They found although teachers make full use of the assessment information to plan lessons which are suited to pupils’ different abilities, teaching is inconsistent.

The report states: “Strengths seen in some subjects are not replicated in others. This limits the progress made by pupils, particularly the most able. The low expectations of some staff are clearly evident in pupils’ books."

"A higher-than-average proportion of Year 11 pupils attain a pass grade in English and in mathematics, but the proportion of most-able pupils attaining a good pass in both subjects declined.

“Governors do not monitor routinely how additional funding is used to enable pupils in Year 7 with low levels of literacy and numeracy to catch up.”

Headteacher Robert Harris said he was pleased inspectors recognised some of the strengths at the school, and in particular the sixth form.

However he added: "It is not enough the ‘typical’ FitzWimarc student makes significantly above average progress, we want everyone to.

"We will take swift action to address all of the priorities identified in the report and have written to parents about this.

"Our first chance to ‘bounce back’ as a school comes with the examination results this summer: we are all committed and really determined to do so.

Rayleigh and Wickford MP Mark Francois has thrown his support behind the school.

He said: “I have long been an admirer of FitzWimarc School and I have offered my support to Mr Harris, the governors and his leadership team in doing whatever is necessary in addressing the challenges identified in the report.

“I understand the school intends to face these matters head-on and are absolutely determined to put them right as soon as practically possible.

“I am happy to stand by the school and its leaders."