A SECONDARY school has been criticised for failing to monitor pupils with disabilities or special education needs.

Ofsted inspectors also said some teachers at the James Hornsby School, in Leinster Road, Laindon, had low expectations of their pupils and work was not always challenging enough.

However, headteacher Jason Carey, who was put in place in March last year, was praised for improving progress and putting James Hornsby “back on track”.

Despite it being handed a “requires improvement” rating, Mr Carey said his school, which has 749 pupils on its roll, “is on the way to becoming fantastic”.

James Hornsby opened as an academy in October 2012, and is now sponsored by the King John School, in Benfleet.

It was rated “satisfactory”

during its last inspection as a school under Essex County Council control and its transformation into an academy was expected to turn its failings around.

John Mitcheson, lead Ofsted inspector, said: “Opening as an academy made little difference to overall standards last year.

“Results in GCSE and vocational awards achieved by Year 11 students were low.

“The proportion of them making expected progress in English and mathematics declined compared to the previous year.

“Entering students for examinations in maths earlier and then later in the year had no impact on overall attainment.

There were no notable differences in the achievement of groups of students.

“Poor teaching and low rates of attendance meant that most of them underachieved.”

One dad, who asked not to be named, said: “Before the school become an academy it was rated as satisfactory and we’ve since had three years of experimenting and unfulfilled promises.

They’ve been messing with our children’s education and ultimately with their futures.

“Now we’re told the school still needs to improve, so we’re understandably very worried.”