ACTION plans are being drawn up to tackle a dramatic fall in education standards, Bury's education chiefs have said.

Council chiefs have responded to a damning report leaked to the Bury Times which laid bare the poor state of education in the town, which only a decade boasted among the best results in the country.

Among the measures being taken include action plans for schools needing support and drafting in experienced headteachers.

Bury's education chiefs reacted to the internal report as leader of Bury Council Rishi Shori unveiled a new vision to make Greater Manchester "the best place in the country to grow up" in his role with the Metro Mayor's department.

In Bury "bright children are most likely to underachieve and disadvantaged children are most unlikely to succeed" according the leaked document.

And a lower-than-average number of of young people achieve strong passes in English and maths at grade 5-plus ­— with one in five GCSE pupils found to leave school one grade lower than pupils from the same starting point nationally.

St Gabriel's RC High School and St Monica's RC High School are currently classed as failing schools, when once they were graded outstanding.

A Bury Council spokesman said the local authority was only able to support a school ­— adding that "insufficient funding " had impacted on schools.

The spokesman issued the statement just days before Cllr Shori as Greater Manchester Combined Authority's lead on young people and social cohesion outlined "bold ambitions" plans to "ensure the city-wide region is the best place in the country to grow up" where they can "exceed expectations".

The council spokesman said: "It is important to note that the council’s role is to support schools in driving school improvement, not driving school improvement directly. The impact of insufficient funding in schools budgets, following years of cuts, also creates pressure which must be recognised.

"We have many excellent schools in Bury, and we are determined to improve all schools to the standards of the best and are working hard with schools to make the improvements where they are needed. "

He added that areas where improvements had been include include in ensuring children are ready for school and A-level results ­— adding that although there was a decline in GCSE results, they were in line with the national average.

The spokesman added: "We continue to support head teachers, governors and other school leaders to drive school improvement, and particularly to challenge schools where standards have fallen. A number of our schools are receiving intensive support from experienced head teachers, facilitated by the LEA, because addressing leadership capacity is important. Our new Interim AD for Learning and Inclusion has identified very quickly schools that need support and is developing action plans to do so.

"We are confident that our schools are developing the right infrastructure and partnerships with each other to make these improvements."

He added: "Headteachers and school leaders remain very focused on achieving the best academic outcomes for children across Bury. This is in the context of a very difficult environment where more children nationally are having difficulties with mental health issues and behaviour. School leaders in Bury have, over the last 12 months, reduced permanent school exclusions in Bury by 73 per cent , which is evidence of their commitment to include all children in their schools.

"New experienced head teachers have joined our secondary schools, with St Monica's already showing signs of turning around, and St Gabriel’s has just appointed an exceptional leader. Experienced head teachers have come forward to offer their skills and expertise in other schools where necessary, and we want more of our schools to partner up with each other.

"Parents can be reassured that Bury schools are among the most inclusive across the North West and will continue to provide a good learning experience for all children.”