DEFIANT school leaders have refused to accept a critical Ofsted report which pointed to a “high turnover” of staff which left parents feeling “unsettled”.

Waterman Primary Academy, in The Boulevard, Rochford, has been handed a requires improvement rating after an inspection in November, which is down from its previous good rating.

Inspectors cited issues with staffing and said parents were not convinced the Hearts Academy Trust, which leads the school, had sustained the quality of education and were concerned their children were “not learning well”.

In a strongly-worded rebuttal in response to the Ofsted report, the school said: “The report itself is confused and contradicts itself several times.

“No warning, indication or discussion of the judgment was discussed until the end of the final day of inspection, which is not in keeping with the methodology.

“We have no respect for, or acceptance of, this inspection report. The school is very small and contains four classes. Ofsted’s own training indicates that when examining data such as turnover of staff in small schools, numbers should be treated with caution. 

“There have been changes of staff as there are in all schools. All of these changes were well planned, welcomed and appropriate.  There was no interruption to leadership or learning. We will, as we always do, continue to improve our offering to our pupils.”

Despite being rated requires improvement overall, the school was rated good in four of the five sub-categories.

The report, published last week, stated: “The staff turnover has left the parent body feeling unsettled.

“Some have concerns that pupils do not behave as well as they should and that their children are not learning well.

“The trust has stabilised staffing at the school. All teachers are new to the school this academic year.

“Parents are not convinced that the trust has sustained the quality of provision. They express concerns that their children are not learning well.”

At the time of the inspection there were 62 pupils at the school, all aged between four and 11.

The report added: “Pupils at Waterman Primary enjoy the many responsibilities and opportunities they undertake.

"Trust leaders, governors and school leaders know what they need to do to strengthen the effectiveness of the school. They know that there is still more work to do to foster good relations with parents.

“Pupils have confidence that staff will help them if they have a worry or concern.”

To read the full report, visit