Underperforming schools will be in the spotlight amid plans to boost results in Birmingham.

A report by Birmingham City Council has identified that 42 per cent of city students are leaving school without the benchmark grades.

Just under 58 per cent of students achieved the pass rate of five or more A*-Cs at GCSE including maths and English in 2011.

This is in line with the national average, and ahead of other major cities including London.

But education bosses admitted the rate is “slowing down”.

The education authority’s Vision for Education report sets out a “school improvement plan” which will see the authority working with head teachers and governors to ensure that no school falls below the floor standard and that all schools aim for at least a “good” rating by Ofsted.

Other measures include schools becoming academies where there is a “history of underperformance” and other measures have not worked.

The report read: “The majority of our schools are successful and we will work with them to build on that success.

“Where this is not the case in schools where there is continued under performance, we will act to address this.

“We know that all the children in the city deserve the best and we have a responsibility to make that a reality.”

Across the city, the percentage of students achieving five or more A*-Cs GCSEs including maths and English has increased by almost 20 per cent since 2005, when the figure stood at 39 per cent.

Primary schools also saw an improvement in Key Stage 2 results, with the percentage of students achieving level 4 in English has risen from 66 to 71 per cent since 2007.

Yet education bosses conceded that there was a “small number” of schools – 27 primaries and three secondaries – which have been below the Government floor standard for a number of years.

A primary school improvement group and secondary school-to-school partnership were set up in June last year to provide “immediate support” to schools which were deemed the most vulnerable.

The report, which was presented at a council cabinet meeting last week, added: “While we have seen year on year progress in terms of educational achievement across the city the fact remains that there is great variability in terms of individual school performance.

“Our aim is that all children and young people have the best possible opportunities and we know that more can be done to secure further improvement.”

News of the local authority improvement plan comes as it was revealed that a dozen Birmingham primary schools are to be made in to academies in a government crackdown on poor performance.

A total of 12 city schools have been identified as among the 200 worst performing primaries in the country, according to the Department for Education (DfE), and will become academies to improve results.

Birmingham had the second highest number of schools on the list, behind Bristol with 13.

The DfE refused to disclose which Birmingham schools were listed, saying it did not want to “name and shame schools or local authorities”.

According to criteria set by the Government, a primary school is deemed to be failing if less than 60 per cent of pupils achieve the benchmark level 4 or above in English and maths, and fail to make average progress in English and Maths for the five years to 2010.

A DfE spokesman said: “We cannot stand by and do nothing when schools are sub-standard year after year.

“We consider the strong external challenge and support from an academy sponsor to be the best way to improve schools which are consistently under performing. Academies have already turned around hundreds of struggling schools across the country and are improving their results at twice the national average rate.”

Education Secretary Michael Gove said on a visit to the city last month that Birmingham was one of the local authorities which was “embracing” reforms to the education system.

But parent Mohammed Ashraf, who has led a campaign against to stop Montgomery Primary School in Sparkbrook from becoming an academy, claimed the programme was a “risky strategy”.

He said: “This is a reckless thing to do with our children’s education. Parents need to make their voices heard.”