OFSTED’s report into St Monica’s makes very unhappy reading.

What was once one of the borough’s flagship schools, with successive outstanding inspections, has now been put into special measures and is in the process of becoming an academy.

This is just five years after its last outstanding Ofsted report.

Worryingly, it follows a recent trend across the borough which has seen Bury College and Holy Cross downgraded from outstanding to requires improvement and last month, Woodhey in Ramsbottom went from good to requires improvement.

It appears that after a good or above-average start in primary school, pupils’ progress is not continuing at the same rates.

It is possible that after years of success and progress, complacency has crept in and outstanding schools are just being expected by parents, schools, local authorities and the media to produce outstanding pupils.

The reality is very different. Hard work and commitment must be put in by all sides in what is becoming an ever-more-competitive industry, from nursery to university.

St Monica’s leaders feel the damning report is unduly harsh and entirely negative.

But they admit that this has not altered the overall findings, which also said that governors and senior management had an inaccurate view of the the school’s performance.

There is a new headteacher in charge and inspectors have recommended urgent training for the leadership team.

There is no point dwelling on the past.

The most important thing now is that necessary steps are urgently taken to get the school back on track.

The priority has to be to ensure that the thousands of youngsters that go through its doors are once again provided with an outstanding education to give them the best start in life.