SLIPPING standards at two Oxfordshire schools have been attributed to serious staffing turbulence.

As the county’s teacher retention crisis rumbles on, respective Ofsted reports have rated Carterton Community College and Manor School ‘requires improvement’.

Separate assessments of the Carterton secondary school and Didcot primary each cited staffing changes as a major contributing factor, and said pupils had suffered as a result.

Manor School was rated ‘requires improvement’ in its last full inspection in 2016, and has failed to change its rating despite efforts to turn things around.

Ofsted’s new report of the 479-pupil academy said: “The school has undergone a significant period of instability in recent years, and this had a negative impact on pupils’ academic, personal and social development.

“The significant turnover of staff in some classes has had a detrimental impact on pupils’ learning and behaviour.

“Several teachers and leaders have left and some staff have been on long-term sickness absence.”

It said many parents raised concerns about ‘disruption’ caused by the changes, and Ofsted agreed that older pupils’ workbooks ‘reflect the turbulence in staffing’.

The report added: “Quality of learning has been inconsistent, so they have not built up skills and understanding systematically.

“Where teaching is weaker, pupils have poor attitudes and do not engage in learning.

“They show signs of boredom and fidget and chat among themselves...their work is often untidy and poorly presented.”

Headteacher Jessica Robinson joined the Didcot school in September alongside a new deputy, and Ofsted praised the pair for being ‘ambitious’ and upholding ‘high expectations’.

The report did note other positives, adding: “Together with the leadership team and governors, they are taking rapid action to reverse this decline [in standards].

“Governors are committed to the school and ambitious to bring about necessary improvements.”

Similar concerns about staffing changes and inconsistency in teaching were raised about Carterton Community College, one of only a handful of remaining secondary schools still run by Oxfordshire County Council.

Ofsted said of the 607-pupil school: “Leaders have not done enough to prevent the decline in the quality of education... Their self-evaluation is too generous.

“Many changes have been made to senior roles and most leaders are very new in their positions.

“The turbulence caused by the extent of these staffing changes has negatively impacted on the progress of pupils and students.”

It said the Sixth Form in particular had been ‘adversely impacted’.

The school had previously been rated ‘good’. Its last head left in April 2017 and Damian Booth, executive of Carterton Community Schools Federation, took over.

There were positives in the report, and the category of ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’ was rated ‘good’.

The other four categories of assessment were ‘requires improvement’, as were all five categories for Manor School.

Both schools were inspected in May and their respective reports were published last week.

Oxfordshire schools have persistently cited recruitment and retention as key issues.