Leaders of a Ramsbottom primary school say they are “surprised and disappointed” after it was judged as requiring improvement by Ofsted.

St Andrew’s CE Primary, in Nuttall Lane, was previously rated as “good” in February 2009, but its rating has been downgraded after a visit from inspectors on March 5 and 6.

The report stated that it is not rated a “good” school because the marking of students’ work is not consistently good; not enough pupils achieve more than is expected of them in reading, writing and maths; and that senior leaders do not always set out clear actions to improve teaching.

However, the report said that the students’ behaviour and attitude to learning is good, and that pupils feel safe in the school, an observation echoed by parents.

The Ofsted report read: “Achievement requires improvement because some pupils are not making good enough progress across the school, in reading but particularly in writing, from their starting points.

“Teaching requires improvement because the quality of learning, including the marking of pupils’ work, is not consistently good or better in all classes.

“Activities set do not develop pupils’ writing skills well enough or quickly enough, for example when worksheets are much in use, which limits opportunities for pupils to write more creatively.”

Headteacher Damian Marsh said: “We are very surprised and disappointed with Ofsted’s ‘requires improvement’ rating, as we feel that the criteria it uses for inspections are narrow and simply don’t reflect the whole picture of what goes on at St Andrew’s.

“One line from Ofsted’s own report perhaps sums it up best — this is a school which the vast majority of parents would recommend to others.

“The curriculum is cited as providing pupils with an interesting range of subjects, and that pupils enjoy coming to school. Ofsted also said that pupils’ spiritual, moral and cultural development was a strength of the school.”

Mr Marsh also hit back at claims made by Ofsted that students did not surpass their academic targets.

He said: “When it comes to academic achievement, Ofsted noted that in 2013, at the end of Year 6, the proportion of pupils that reached expected standards in reading, writing and mathematics was above the national average — infact, we were ranked 6th in the whole of Bury for attainment.

"We have been given some areas to work on by Ofsted and we are already making these improvements.

“In short, we are proud of a school where children are safe, happy, love to learn and make good progress or better. This is down to the hard work of our staff, the attitude of our pupils, and the support of parents and governors.”

To improve, Ofsted said that the school should improve the quality of teaching by ensuring marking gives clear guidance to students, and that senior leaders should make more rigorous checks on the attainment of all pupils.