PLUMMETING standards at an independent religious school have seen it slapped with Ofsted's lowest rating after inspectors found a raft of safety concerns.

Following inspection in late 2017 Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College in Chigwell was judged 'inadequate' in a report published earlier this year, a complete reversal of its previous 'outstanding' status.

At the core of a damning report into the predominantly Sikh school are serious concerns about its management and safeguarding arrangements.

Due to 'flawed' safeguarding systems and an 'unacceptably weak' understanding of safeguarding matters by leaders, 'pupils are potentially placed at risk and their welfare is compromised.'

Part of the report reads: "Inspectors found a significant lack of fire extinguishers, fire signs pointing to blocked exits and fire doors propped open, giving open access to the school.

"Drinking water is not clearly labelled and the showers do not work.

"Pupils raised concerns about their safety on the school bus, where too often there are broken seatbelts, and they feel that drivers do not take sufficient care in their driving."

Young pupils also told inspectors they were worried about a dog living in a house on the school's field.

Additionally, concerns were raised about the school's administrative capabilities.

Inspectors struggled to find out how many staff worked at the school and whether references had been taken for numerous teachers upon their employment.

Child protection records were incomplete or badly organised, no 'convincing evidence' was given that suggested teachers checked up on absent pupils and children as young as two were being looked after on site - despite the school only having authorisation from the Department of Education to teach three to 18 year-olds.

An online questionnaire hosted by Ofsted found one third of parents who not recommend the school to another parent.

While the report was generally damning, the £6,720 a year school was found to have some positive qualities.

The report continues: "Despite weak leadership at a senior level, the quality of teaching is good, and this effective teaching secures good outcomes in the primary and secondary phases.

"The teaching of reading, writing and mathematics in key stage 1 and key stage 2 is a positive aspect of the provision.

"Pupils’ skills are developed well, which sets them up appropriately for when they embark on their secondary school career.

"Pupils in school are accepting of one another’s different faiths and beliefs, and work harmoniously together."

A spokesperson for the college admitted it had been slow to react to new indepedent school standards and safeguarding issues and highlighted that outcomes for pupils and quality of teach were considered 'good'.

They also drew attention to some of the report's other positive aspects - including positive teacher/student relationships, 'generally very good' pupil behaviour and diligent use of school planners - and said: "Regarding the improvements, we were asked to give an action plan by February 26, which we have and it has been accepted by OFSTED.

"We have to complete the improvements by April 23 and we are making sure we complete these in the time frame."