A multi-million-pound drive is being launched in Birmingham to help safeguard nearly two dozen city schools at risk of possible closure.
Birmingham City Council has secured £2.8million of government funding to boost attainment at 20 secondary schools which face major challenges.
The schools are part of the government’s National Challenge programme to ensure secondary schools achieve minimum academic standards.
It has set a target of at least 30 per cent of pupils gaining five A* to C grades at GCSE, including English and maths, by 2011.
Birmingham has seen the number of National Challenge schools drop from 27 in 12 months. But two – Frankley Community High and Kings Norton High – face severe pressure as their figures stand at 11 and 12 per cent.
Schools that fail to achieve 30 per cent face government intervention. This could involve them being forced to become academies, privately run by outside sponsors, or face closure.
Birmingham City Council has been working with the Department for Children, Schools and Families, Office of the Schools Commissioner and National Strategies to get the £2.8million funding.
Cabinet member for education and schools, Coun Les Lawrence, said: “This resource will enable us to further support teaching and support staff seeking to raise attainment particularly in English and maths in those areas of the city facing the most significant challenges.
“It will provide impetus to the focus we are putting into regeneration and raising the aspirations of communities within which many of these schools are.”
Schools working towards the National Challenge target will receive additional resources for English and maths, teaching and learning, additional leadership capacity and family learning. Secondary schools who beat the 30 per cent target in 2007 will get additional funding.