80,000 ‘in underperforming schools’

Around 500 schools in the UK are “seriously underperforming” a top government adviser has said.

Sir Cyril Taylor, who heads the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, made the revelations in an interview today, saying that around 80,000 secondary students are suffering because of weak schools.

He said that in approximately 500 underperforming schools, less than 25 per cent of pupils get five good GCSEs – including English and maths – and less than 40 per cent get five good GCSEs without English and maths.

The revelations are a far cry from the government’s estimation of the secondary school problem, with official figures stating that only 50 schools are underperforming, down from over 600 in 1997.

Sir Cyril said in the interview that the degree of difference in schools is unfair to secondary students.

“There are these 80,000 going to schools that are underperforming, and some very badly underperforming. That’s what we have got to focus on. That’s the unfairness,” he explained.

“They vary so much. Some are so bad they ought to be shut down quickly and some are struggling and need help,” he said.