STANDARDS have 'continued to slide' at a failing primary school due to a shortage of full-time teachers and 'ever-shifting leadership'.

St Mary and All Saints Church of England Primary School has been branded 'inadequate' by the education watchdog for the second time in three years following an inspection in October.

Ofsted said the school had 'floundered' due to a lack of intervention from Reading Borough Council, with interim head Margaret Bainbridge coming under fire.

The inspection report reads: "Since the previous inspection, improvement has been too slow. Temporary and ever-shifting leadership and staffing arrangements mean there is no compelling momentum for change.

"Responsible stakeholders including the diocese, local authority, executive committee and governing body have had insufficient impact.

"Consequently, the school has floundered and school effectiveness continues to wane.

"Some parents are dissatisfied with the school’s effectiveness. Approximately 50 per cent of staff are temporary and few stay long enough to make a real difference to pupils’ learning.

"The quality of teaching and learning over time is inadequate. Pupils’ attendance is declining and absence for some vulnerable groups is gradually increasing and is above that seen nationally.

"The curriculum does not meet pupils’ needs. Pupils do not study a range of subjects with any regularity and are uninspired and lack motivation to give of their best in learning activities. Standards are too low, particularly in science."

St Mary and All Saints cares for more than 400 children and was rated 'inadequate' in all five inspection areas during the last visit in October 2014.

The primary school was plunged into special measures and a series of follow-up visits found improvements were not being made quickly enough.

On this occasion, inspectors praised the safeguarding and early years provision, as well as the outcomes for children in music and physical education.

The council put in place a consultant head teacher, Marion Standing, with immediate effect.

Councillor Tony Jones, lead member for Education, added: “The Ofsted inspection report for St Mary and All Saints Primary gives a frank account of the school’s current situation, but the council moved quickly in response to these findings.

“Education officers have worked closely with the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education, which in turn has made an experienced head teacher and senior education advisor available to act as head teacher for the school at very short notice.

“I would like to reassure parents that every effort is being made by the council and Diocese to turn this school around and I hope to see signs of improvement as soon as possible.”