Secondary school tables: Up to 40 schools face closure unless they improve results

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The Independent Online

More than 10 per cent of secondary schools must improve if they are to meet minimum government targets for GCSE results by 2006, exam league tables show today.

More than 10 per cent of secondary schools must improve if they are to meet minimum government targets for GCSE results by 2006, exam league tables show today.

Today's tables of GCSE and A-level results for every school in England are the first since the announcement of targets in the Government's education White Paper – due to be confirmed in legislation tomorrow.

Ministers have said that at least 25 per cent of pupils must get five top grade (A* to C) grade GCSE passes by 2006. The tables show 373 schools fell short of that figure this year, and nearly 200 fell short of a target of 20 per cent by 2004. In addition, 26 education authorities, a sixth, failed to meet a 2004 target of 38 per cent.

Up to 40 of the worst performers – those where fewer than 15 per cent of pupils got five top grades for two years running – face closure next year if they fail to improve.

But teachers' leaders said the targets were hampering efforts to improve standards. David Hart, National Association of Head Teachers' general secretary, criticised the "constant naming and shaming of schools in the most deprived areas of the country".

Ministers took heart from the rise in the overall pass rate in GCSE's and A-levels. And Estelle Morris, the Secretary of State for Education, said the new specialist schools had outperformed other state schools.

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