EVERY parent wants to be confident that their local schools are a fit place for their children to be educated.

Somewhere they can be sure of a good all-round education, and a place where they will feel secure and welcomed, where they will thrive emotionally and intellectually and reach their full academic potential.

Surely that is not too much to ask for in 21st century Britain. But apparently it is.

In a week when we also read that the gap between rich and poor is ever-widening, that the typical head of a FTSE 100 company now earns 147 times more than the average employee, it is disheartening to realise that the same disparity also applies to state education.

Despite much heralded efforts on the part of the country's top universities to admit pupils educated in state schools, it is a fact that the majority of the students to win places at those institutions come from private schools.

Not only that, but it would seem that the state-educated pupils who are admitted to Oxford and Cambridge largely come from high schools and sixth form colleges in the leafy boroughs, places where parents pay a premium for house location.

In Bury, between 2017 and 2017, only 15 students won a place. Of course education is not all about gaining an Oxbridge education. But is is about all children fulfilling their maximum potential. And the special report today about the fact that yet another Bury high school has been put into special measures is extremely disappointing. Especially in an authority which not too long ago was lauded as one of the best performing for education and exam results in the whole of Greater Manchester.

More must be done than giving a school the stigmatic badge of being placed in special measures. Some serious investment in manpower and leadership is needed. And that means investment of some serious money for teaching to improve Bury schools.