A Gwynedd secondary school is in need of substantial improvements following a visit by inspectors.

According to Estyn, standards at Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen are “unsatisfactory” and have identified necessary improvements in every area of inspection.

The 465 pupil school in Bethesda was found to be a “close-knit and caring community” with inspectors describing the relationship between pupils and staff as a “robust feature.”

But standards were found to be lacking, with pupils “not making the expected progress during their time at the school,” specifically literacy, numeracy and IT.

The report stated: “Pupils’ performance at the end of key stage 4 has declined every year over the last three years and is much lower than the performance of pupils in similar schools,” adding that the performance of pupils eligible for free school meals is “consistently lower” than in similar schools.

While standards were found to be “unsatisfactory”, all other categories were described as “adequate and needing improvement.”

In regards to well-being and attitudes to learning, many pupils feel safe at school and inspectors were satisfied there are appropriate arrangements to deal with instances of bullying.

A majority of pupils also had “positive attitudes” towards their work and and work together suitably in groups.

In some cases, however, pupils “did not try hard enough in individual or group tasks”, and “content to give very brief responses or present a minimal amount of work.”

Inspectors noted that since the retirement of the former headteacher, the school had faced a “period of instability” under an acting headteacher until being appointed permanently in April 2018.

However, they were also satisfied that the school is now in a “more robust position in terms of the permanent membership of the senior leadership team,” with a “clear vision, more robust structures and a sound grasp of the school’s priorities for improvement.”

The chair of the board of governors, Paul Rowlinson, said: “We are proud that ESTYN recognised the importance we place on providing opportunities for our pupils to contribute to the life of the school and the community.

“We are pleased that ESTYN has recognised that our decision to restructure the school leadership team in late 2018, as recommended by the head, has led to a more robust position, more robust structures and a sound grasp of the school’s priorities for improvement. This has enabled us to focus on improving standards and the school had already begun to introduce the changes to achieve this.”

The headteacher, Dylan Davies, added:  “We are pleased that ESTYN’s report has acknowledged that our new leadership team has a clear vision that reflects the naturally Welsh community, with an emphasis on developing bilingualism.

“I also welcome that the report recognises our clear understanding of the areas that need to be developed and that we have succeeded in implementing clear processes to monitor progress.

“The report certainly offers us as staff, governors and the whole community a clear programme to work to ensure that the school offers the best education to the pupils of Dyffryn Ogwen. ”

A spokesperson for Gwynedd Council’s Education Department, “noted the contents of the report,” adding: “We are pleased that positive changes have been put in place over the recent period, and we will continue to work with the school on the work of continuing with the improvement process over the coming months.”