THE marked decline in educational standards in Bury has today been highlighted in Ofsted's Annual Report which found that fewer than half of high schools in Bury are good or outstanding.

In fact the number of good or better schools in Bury has fallen by 15 per cent in just 12 months according to the report.

But education bosses say that the picture has improved considerably since then - and they are determined to regain Bury's standing as a leading place for children to be educated.

Andrew Cook, Ofsted Director for the North West said “In many parts of the North West children are getting a good or outstanding education.

"Nine out of 10 primary schools in this region are good or better.

"As a former primary school headteacher, I know the importance of children getting off to a good start.

“There are some areas such as Knowsley, Blackpool and Oldham where we have had concerns for a number of years and other areas such as Salford and Bury where we have seen a marked decline over time."

Ofsted's Annual Report for 2018/19 is designed to give a state of the nation picture of the performance of early, school, further education and skills, and social care providers in the England.

Figures published in the report show that Bury is third from the bottom in the North West for the percentage of secondary schools judged good or outstanding, with only 46 per cent marked as such. This is 15 per cent fall on 2018.

In Trafford 89 per cent of secondary schools achieve this standard.

The national average stands at 76 per cent and in the North West that figure is 67 per cent.

The town was sixth from the bottom for the number of primary schools ­— 84 per cent ­— marked at this level, although there has been a four per cent improvement in this area.

The North West average is 90 per cent and the England average as 87 per cent.

The progress children make from the end of primary school to the end of secondary school was significantly below national average.

A Bury Council spokesman said: "The figures in the Ofsted report are out of date, and the situation in Bury has improved considerably since then.

In fact, the Ofsted report for last month (December 2019 ) shows that 89% of Bury primary schools and 60% of secondary schools are now rated good or outstanding.

“This has come about because of decisive and rigorous action taken by the local authority to drive up school standards across the borough. We have completed and implemented a major review of our school improvement policies and procedures, tightening up our support – and our challenge - to schools and working with them to secure better results.

“All the recent Ofsted inspections of our schools have shown improvement: just last week, one of our secondary schools was given an improved Ofsted rating and taken out of special measures.

“Our progress is reviewed and noted by the Regional Schools Commissioner, the Territorial HMI and by our regional peers.

“While there is still much to do, our results are recovering strongly and we are determined to resume our place as one of the best education services in the land.”