A primary school in Bolton-by-Bowland has been told to improve by Ofsted inspectors.

Bolton-by-Bowland Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School, in Gisburn Road, has been rated as ‘requires improvement’.

Inspectors said the school has experienced “instability in leadership” which has impacted the school’s work to address concerns raised at the previous shorter inspection in 2022.

As a result, the schools curriculum requires further development in a number of subjects.

Headteacher Joanne Abram, who was appointed in September 2023, said the Ofsted rating, which was published this month, was “very disappointing” for staff but added teachers have “worked tirelessly” to develop the school’s curriculum.

The report said: “The school is still developing its curriculum thinking in a number of subjects beyond reading and mathematics.

“This is also the case in parts of the early years curriculum. In a few of these areas, the school is still developing the further curriculum expertise that it needs to lead this work effectively.”

Inspectors said the issues with the curriculum mean pupils do not achieve as well as they could.

The report went on: “In several subjects, the school has identified the small steps of knowledge that pupils should learn.

“In other subjects, the school has not sufficiently broken down curriculum content into a logical order so that pupils can build their knowledge securely over time.

“In addition, the school has not considered how to then adapt the delivery of this content to meet pupils’ different needs.

“This leads to pupils, including those in the early years, learning through activities that are not tailored to their different ages and stage of development. As a result, pupils do not achieve as well as they could.”

The school, according to the report, is not clear on the gaps or misconceptions that pupils might have in their learning.

Inspectors added: “In some subjects, the school does not gather assessment information effectively to establish what pupils know.

“This is because the school has not identified the specific knowledge that pupils need to learn in these subjects.”

The report also highlighted several positives at the school.

Pupils are said to enjoy being part of the school. According to the report, pupils form strong bonds with other pupils in the school, with older children offering caring support to the younger pupils,

Pupils were also said to have developed a strong sense of responsibility at school.

The report said: “They take on different leadership roles around the school, such as playleaders, librarians and well-being warriors. They carry out these responsibilities with pride.”

Children at the school are said to have a positive attitude to their learning and leaders have high expectations of their pupils.

It added: “Leaders have high expectations for what pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) should learn in subjects such as reading and mathematics.”

Pupils at the school are also said to enjoy reading. Inspectors added the school places a high priority on the importance of learning to read.

The report said: “Children read books that are well suited to their current knowledge of sounds. The school has catch-up support in place for when pupils need it.”

The school was also praised for identifying and helping pupils with SEND.

Headteacher Joanne Abram said: “The lead Inspector acknowledged that a lot of work had taken place since the section eight inspection in February 2022, particularly with the core subjects of reading and maths.

“He evaluated that the school needs more time to complete the work on the curriculum, which will be the school’s focus moving forward.

"Although this is very disappointing for the whole team and, as the newly appointed headteacher, I want to point out that, despite the instability in leadership prior to my appointment, the teachers have worked tirelessly, making great strides to develop a curriculum that serves this special school community.

“Although the Inspector agreed that much progress had been made, there is still work to complete.

"His comments are reflected in the report, but so too are observations he made about the children and how wonderful they are and what a ‘warm and caring place this is to be’.

“There are many positives in the report and there are many positives that did not make it into the report but are evident to everyone who is a member of the school family.”