A BARNSLEY headteacher has dramatically stepped down from her post - just days after inspectors branded her school a 'failure'.

Sharon Mapplebeck's sudden departure after 11 years at The Edmunds Primary School came as a 'complete shock', parents said.

Despite Ofsted saying the Worsbrough school has nose-dived from 'good' in 2011 to 'inadequate', and requires special measures - Ofsted's worst category of failing school - parents insist Ms Mapplebeck had 'done wonders' there and praised her for being 'very committed' and 'going above and beyond' her duties.

Isaac Suomie, a former governor with a son at the school, said: "I'm so sorry to see her go, it's very sad. She's a very nice headteacher."

One mum said: "This is no way to end a career. We were only told on Tuesday that she's leaving and for it to come mid-term makes you wonder if she's been asked to step down."

Her departure comes a month after a visit by Ofsted inspectors whose report was sent to the school last week.

It was critical of the achievement of pupils and the quality of teaching as well as the school's leadership and management.

The inspectors also said the behaviour and safety of pupils 'requires improvement'.

A summary of Ofsted's findings was sent out to parents and carers last Tuesday, along with a letter from Ms Mapplebeck announcing she would be standing down as headteacher and leaving on the following Friday.

Ms Mapplebeck wrote: "It has been a huge pleasure and privilege to have been the headteacher of this school .

"It has been a long and eventful journey, but one which has been well worth the challenge.

"Now it is time for someone else to take up the challenge and lead the school forward into the future.

"Whoever takes on that responsibility will be lucky to have such amazing pupils and such a capable and committed staff."

The report says pupils' achievement is inadequate because too many are not making the progress they're capable of.

Attainment in reading, writing and mathematics is also 'too low' in key stage one and two.

Teaching was branded 'inadequate' with the report saying teachers do not have high enough expectation of what pupils can achieve.

It states: "The school's judgement on how well it is doing is not accurate and too generous.

"Senior leaders do not track pupils' progress closely enough to know how well they are doing. Leaders do not check the quality of teaching thoroughly enough.

"Since the last inspection pupils' progress and the quality of teaching have declined. School leaders have not done enough to reverse this decline."

It also blasted governors for not holding school leaders to account.

A council spokesman said it's working with staff and governors to address the areas of concern identified in the Ofsted inspection.

He added: "Following the decision by the headteacher Sharon Mapplebeck to stand down from her post, arrangements are being put in place to ensure the school is well-led and managed and has the capacity to bring about rapid and significant improvements in both the quality of provision and children's achievements.

"The council wish to thank Mrs Mapplebeck for her 11 years of dedicated service."