Five state schools in the West Midlands have been warned they must improve their GCSE performance this year or risk potential closure.

Last year former Education Secretary Ruth Kelly gave failing schools a year's deadline to turn themselves around in a bid to instil "more urgency" into improvement drives.

Those that did not raise their game above a floor target of 25 per cent of pupils gaining five or more GCSEs graded A* to C faced tough action including closure.

The five Midland schools scoring below the floor target last year were Pensnett School of Technology, Dudley (17 per cent); Thistley Hough High School, Stoke-on-Trent (24 per cent); Rushall Community College, Walsall (17 per cent); Bishop Wulstan Catholic School, Warwickshire (12 per cent), and Bredon School, Worcestershire (22 per cent).

Last night the Department for Education and Skills said: "There is still the possibility of closure and the Education and Inspection Bill make clear that local authorities should act quickly and decisively to turn around failing or persistently low performing schools through the full use of their intervention powers.

"This could mean additional support to drive up performance, but equally local authorities can consider other options such as changing the governing team, federation with successful schools, or replacement by academies."