Arson-hit school in Leyland placed in special measures by Ofsted

Fire at St Mary's College Leyland
Image caption Parts of St Mary's College in Leyland had to be demolished after the 1 September fire last year

A Lancashire school, severely damaged by fire last year, has been placed in "special measures" after an inspection.

St Mary's Catholic Technology College, Leyland, has been given an "inadequate" rating by the school watchdog Ofsted.

Inspectors, who visited the school in October, said it underperformed in terms of leadership, pupils' behaviour and achievement, and teaching quality.

The school said it accepted Ofsted's findings and had put "improvement initiatives" in place.

The past 18 months, the school explained, had been difficult due to the "catastrophic" fire and a teachers' dispute.

Two boys were sentenced last week for causing a fire at the site in September last year.

Sections of the school had to be demolished, with the blaze causing £15m of damage and closing the site for a month.

'Lost confidence'

In the report, senior leaders and governors at the school are described as "ineffective" and "not doing enough" to improve teaching and attainment.

It said the school did not communicate effectively with parents, who had "lost confidence in the school".

The report did highlight some strengths, including the behaviour of "most students", and progress in subjects including English.

Headteacher Kathy McNicholas said: "We all want the school to make rapid progress, and the rigorous monitoring we will receive from Her Majesty's Inspectors over the next two years will help us move more quickly towards our targets.

"Ofsted has acknowledged that a number of appropriate improvement initiatives have already been put in place and, by their next visit, we hope that inspectors will see the difference they are making."

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