A PRIMARY school in Bridgwater struck by tragedy 18 months ago has said it 'just needs more time' to ensure good learning after it was rated as 'Required Improvement'.

Willowdown Primary Academy on Kings Drive welcomed Ofsted inspectors in April for the first time since opening in 2014.

The education inspectors rated the school as overall 'Requires Improvement', noting that teaching was inconsistent and that there was insufficient coverage of some curriculum subjects.

Other points raised in the report were that: Leaders’ checks on teaching and learning have not had sufficient impact. So, too few pupils make the rates of progress that are expected, particularly in reading and mathematics; teaching does not consistently build on what pupils already know. Sometimes work is too easy or pupils are moved through topics before they have secured understanding. This slows the progress that pupils make.

But inspectors did praise headteacher Olly Priestley for his ambitious vision of the school and his work in rebuilding culture there.

The early years provision was also rated as good, with the report adding that effective teaching and nurturing support by staff ensures that children make good progress.

Inspectors said that the work of leaders needs more time to ensure good learning for all children but recognised that parents felt their children were happy and well cared for.

The academy, which is part of The Collaborative Academies Trust, was also said to be a purposeful and inclusive community.

A spokesman for the academy said: "Inspectors recognised the solid foundation that has been built at the school with many positives.

"They saw the challenges of opening a new school combined with the sad loss of the first headteacher of the school 18 months ago."

Mr Priestly took over as headteacher following the sudden death of Nick Riddiough, executive principal in February 2016.

Mr Priestley, said, “I am delighted that the hard work of all my staff has been recognised. I am particularly pleased our Early Years provision in nursery and reception was judged ‘Good’.

"I am proud to lead this new school and will work hard with parents and staff to improve even further. Inspectors said we have a strong team and the right strategies in place. We just need more time.”

Mr Chris Hilliard of The Collaborative Academies Trust said: “Inspectors recognised what we have done and left us more to do to make Willowdown even better. I am confident that the school now has an excellent team in place to take it to the next step. ”