Pupils fail to hit Brown's exam target

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One in five secondary schools face closure unless they make radical improvements in English and maths after failing to meet Gordon Brown's target for GCSE exams.

At 639 schools, fewer than 30 per cent of pupils achieved five good GCSE passes last summer, including English and maths, accord-ing to official figures.

Overall, only 46.7 per cent of pupils achieved the target standard, a rise of just 0.7 percentage points on 2006, the first year that this measure was published.

Twenty-six city academies are among the schools under threat.