INSPECTORS have recommended a primary school in Monmouthshire be placed in special measures.

A team from Estyn visited Dewstow Primary, in Caldicot, at the end of May and raised concerns about leadership, teaching, and pupil development.

The inspection follows a "difficult period of change and uncertainty following significant changes to longstanding leadership", they noted.

The school will now have to devise an action plan to meet the inspectors' recommendations, and Estyn will monitor progress on a termly basis.

Dewstow Primary is an English-medium school run by the local authority. There are currently 261 pupils enrolled, including a nursery class.

When inspectors visited this year, they found an "inclusive" school which emphasised "supporting the well-being of its pupils and engaging well with their families".

Leaders and staff have created a "warm and welcoming learning environment", and the school has "vibrant learning spaces".

But Estyn also found staff expectations of pupils were "too low" and there was "too much variation in their approaches to teaching and learning".

They said the balance between teacher- and learner-led activities was "inappropriate".

As a result, "most pupils have insufficient opportunities to develop as independent learners and are unable to complete tasks to an appropriate standard without adult support".

But Estyn praised the staff for forging "positive working relationships" with pupils and for creating "welcoming, purposeful, and supportive learning environments".

They also acknowledged the school's acting headteacher was "steering the school through a difficult period of change".

"This year the school is undergoing significant staffing changes, including within the senior leadership team," the inspectors added.

The school was described as a "caring and supportive community" but the inspectors urged staff to make more use of the "outside classroom" and play areas on the site.

Dewstow Primary's last full inspection was in 2013, when Estyn said standards were "adequate" but decided "significant improvement" was needed.

A follow-up visit in 2015 was positive, and inspectors said progress ranged from "satisfactory" to "very good".

But the inspection this year revealed "insufficient focus by leaders on maintaining the progress made against the recommendations for improvement".

"Therefore, the school does not have a proven track record in sustaining and further developing itself," Estyn said.

The inspectors said the school’s vision for the curriculum "lacks clarity and strategic direction", and "consequently, pupils do not have opportunity to develop their range of skills well enough".

Estyn has made seven key recommendations for improvements and will now monitor the school's progress each term.