More than 200 schools miss new GCSE target

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More than 200 schools in England have failed to meet a new target for GCSE results and face coming under the control of more successful headteachers who will be able to overhaul their curriculum and staffing, according to data published today. In a white paper published last year, the coalition raised the basic target for schools to a threshold of 35% of pupils achieving five GCSEs at grade A*-C, including English and maths. Schools that fail to meet this target, and whose pupils are failing to achieve above-average levels of progress in English and maths will be considered underperforming.

A total of 216 schools out of nearly 3,000 state schools in England failed to meet this threshold in last summer’s exam results, according to this year’s secondary school league tables. Education secretary Michael Gove said yesterday that underperforming schools will receive extra resources but could also be taken over by more successful schools under “tough, rigorous” plans for improvement.

Gove said: “Those plans will involve weaker schools being taken under the wing of high-performing schools, entering academy chains, changing the way they work, implementing reforms to the curriculum and staffing and putting in place new, tougher approaches to discipline and behaviour.”

This will be led by the government’s new schools commissioner, Elizabeth Sidwell, a former headteacher and chief executive of three London academies.

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