11/01/2006

Schools 'failing' one million pupils

Around a million pupils in England are receiving inadequate education, the National Audit Office (NAO) has reported.

The NAO report said that 1,577 schools in England were performing poorly by July last year. However, the report also said that the number of failing schools had halved between 1998 and 2005. The report said that problems in poorly performing schools were not being dealt with quickly enough.

Edward Leigh, chairman of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee urged local authorities, the Department for Education and Skills and education watchdog Ofsted to act faster to improve failing schools or close them "before their pupils chances in life are ruined". He said: "It is tragic that so many pupils are still not getting the education they deserve."

Commenting on the report, Schools Minister Jacqui Smith said that the report endorsed plans in the government's education White Paper to introduce faster measures to tackle failing schools.

Ms Smith said that, under the measures, any schools that failed to show improvement after 12 months would face closure.

(KMcA)

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