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Brown gets tough on schools

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Failing schools will be closed down as part of 'ever tougher measures' to ensure improved standards in education, the prime minister Gordon Brown has announced.

In a speech, Mr Brown laid out his goal to ensure that all schools achieve a grade C in at least 30% of GCSEs.

Mr Brown told his audience at the University of Greenwich that Britain's new ambition on education should be "nothing less than to be world-class".

His plans for "eradicating failure" include:

  • Annual improvement targets on schools failing to meet the threshold

  • New incentives for teachers

  • The creation of improvement networks where good schools assist others

  • 'Interim executive boards' to take over the management of failing schools

  • Schools which do not improve to be closed down

Mr Brown said: "This is a determined and systematic agenda to end failure. We will see it through. We will not flinch from the task."

He added: "It's time to say... that we can no longer tolerate failure. And that it will no longer be acceptable for any school to fail its pupils without us acting."

Don't wade in says LGA

Giving councils additional powers is a helpful step in putting an end to school failure, said the Local Government Association.

"The LGA would encourage councils to continue flexing their strategic muscle where they feel appropriate," said
children and young people board chair Cllr Les Lawrence.

"The focus for local authorities is not to wade in at the earliest opportunity and close a school down, it is to identify problems as early as possible and work with families, teachers, heads and governors to find sensible solutions.

"Closure of schools is seen by all local authorities as a last resort and any sanctions must go hand in hand with support designed to turn a school around and councils will continue to ensure all children fulfil their full potential."

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