St Stephen’s Catholic Primary School in Skipton has set out a clear plan for improvement after Ofsted placed the school in special measures.

After being rated as outstanding during an inspection in July 2012, the school was judged to be inadequate when another inspection was carried out in February.

Achievement of pupils, quality of teaching and leadership and management were all rated as inadequate, while inspectors said behaviour and safety of pupils required improvement.

“No doubt it’s come as a massive surprise, given our outstanding Ofsted 18 months ago,” said Kate Molloy, chairman of governors. “Just because you’ve got that outstanding performance badge, it can still come.”

In her report, lead Ofsted inspector Wendy Ripley said: “Standards declined at the end of Year 6 in 2012 and 2013. Too many pupils are underachieving because the work set for them does not take account of what they already know.”

Inspectors also said teaching was inadequate because it did not secure the progress pupils were capable of over time.

Pupils’ attendance fell dramatically in 2013 and “behaviour requires improvement because pupils often lose concentration and their enthusiasm and attention wanes in lessons that are not well planned”.

Mrs Ripley added that “governors do not do enough to hold senior leaders to account” and “leaders do not provide the direction needed to improve the quality of teaching”.

Inspectors did acknowledge that pupils were well cared for and felt safe.

The school’s governing body, North Yorkshire County Council and Leeds Diocese are now working closely together to support the school as it implements an action-plan to raise standards.

“St Stephen’s is a strong community,” said Mrs Molloy. “We believe that the issues identified by Ofsted can be addressed quickly. We all remain totally committed to ensuring that our children receive the best quality Catholic education possible.”

Partnerships with other local good and outstanding diocesan schools have been established in order to share good practice and a consultant headteacher is also working alongside school leaders.

Mrs Molloy said that parents were providing an “overwhelming sense of support” to the school.

She added: “Many people don’t view our school in this way so this give us a chance to be better.”

County councillor Arthur Barker, executive member for schools said: “We are supporting St Stephen’s through this challenging period and will work with all partners to make sure children in the community are given quality teaching and learning and that provision improves rapidly.”