A KEIGHLEY primary school has been put in special measures after a highly critical inspection found there was regular bullying and racist abuse.

Ofsted judged Nessfield Primary School, which has more than 450 pupils, to be inadequate in every category in the recently-published report.

It said standards had declined since the last inspection, in 2015, when the school was judged to require improvement, that a number of staffing changes had had a detrimental effect on the school and that pupils, parents and staff had concerns over bullying and harassment.

Bradford Council said parents would find the report “concerning” but said steps to improve the school had already been taken, and a new leadership team had recently been brought in.

The report says of safeguarding failures: “Pupils and parents report that bullying occurs frequently and leaders’ recorded actions to address incidents lack rigour. Some younger pupils are frightened of older pupils and inspectors noted a high level of rough and reckless play at lunchtime. Records show incidents of serious racist abuse, sometimes repeated by the same pupils, but these do not appear to have been addressed strongly. Pupils also reported use of homophobic language.”

Ofsted pointed out that the head left in July 2016 and the acting head had been absent since February.

A recruitment process to find a new permanent head, by governors and Bradford Council, failed in February, and the school is now run by a new interim executive board and an interim head.

It also said at the time of the inspection that half the teaching staff were affected by “long term sickness”.

Interim head Janet Keefe said: “I want to reassure parents that the report’s findings are being acted upon as a matter of urgency. We are already addressing the safeguarding concerns raised by Ofsted and we are working to ensure that the school has stable staffing in place for the start of the new academic year.”

Bradford Council’s strategic director for Children’s Services, Michael Jameson, said: “We understand that parents reading this report will be concerned at its findings.

“We want to reassure them that steps are already being taken to ensure the school improves. Bradford Council has taken decisive action to support Nessfield Primary School.”