Ministers have not yet decided whether to set national targets for GCSEs similar to those for 11-year-olds. Local education authorities already have to agree targets in English and maths at the end of primary school. They must also agree targets with individual schools.
But Mr Byers, who was speaking at a Local Government Association conference, made it clear that local education authorities must not "nanny" schools. As he issued a new code of practice outlining authorities' powers to intervene in schools, he warned that the power should be used sensibly. Authorities should go into a school "only if there is reasonable cause for concern. We believe schools must be responsible for their own performance," he said.
The new code tries to strike a balance between the powers of local authorities on the one hand and heads and governors on the other.