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More support on the way for struggling south-east schools

23/09/2009 Joanna
The government has announced plans to tackle low grades in some regions to ensure at least 30 per cent of pupils at all schools achieve a minimum of five good GCSEs.

Expert education advisers will be sent in to schools in Kent and Suffolk and the schools minister Vernon Coaker has met with local authorities in Leeds to discuss what solutions are needed.

Schools secretary Ed Balls said the National Challenge programme - aiming for at least 30 per cent of pupils at every secondary school in the country to achieve five GCSEs at grades A* to C by 2011 - is on track.

Those local authorities still struggling to meet this minimum standard will receive a letter from Mr Balls urging them to issue Ofsted inspections or warning notices at schools with a "significant decline in results".

According to government figures, the number of schools below the minimum standard has dropped nearly 40 per cent from 440 last year to 270.

Launched by the Department for Children, Schools and Families in June last year, the National Challenge programme intended to drive forward the expansion of academy schools with £200 million of funding.

Written by Tim Colman

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