A SCHOOL which sparked controversy by allegedly locking children in a “naughty room” has been criticised by watchdogs over pupil safety.

Ofsted staged a snap inspection at Alton Park Junior School, in Clacton, after complaints over the way it dealt with misbehaving children raised “serious concerns”.

In December, the Gazette revealed a probe had been launched following allegations children had been locked in a room and inappropriately restrained.

Chairman of governors Lisa Ball and vice-chairman Kim Rawlings resigned over the way some children were allegedly being treated.

Headteacher Anthony Welch was told not to attend the school for about 10 weeks while the investigation continued. He returned to the school in January.

Ofsted staged an unannounced inspection last month to look into the school’s safeguarding procedures.

Its said methods were not effective, despite recent help from child support services.

In a letter to Mr Welch, Ofsted said: “While progress in this area of the school’s work has been made, important weaknesses remain.”

The 450-pupil school’s use of physical intervention and an isolation room, which were central to the original allegations, was not criticised by Ofsted.

The letter says: “Neither the local authority review or this inspection identified serious irregularities. The school’s records show it has not been necessary to use physical restraint since mid-November.”

The school has been ordered to review how it records child protection concerns and ensure incidents of bullying and bad behaviour are recorded in sufficient detail so swift action can be taken.

The watchdog also said there was “robust evidence” that improvements are being made.

Mr Welch said: "The safety and wellbeing of our pupils is paramount. We are aware of the issues in the report and have taken action."