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Liverpool awaits bad news

Liverpool will receive the first indication of the fate of its education service today, writes Clare Dean. The inspectors will report to the Liberal Democrat council, following an inquiry prompted by ministers' concerns about the lack of support provided for schools.

Liverpool has one of the highest number of failing schools in the country - 13 in special measures, 14 with serious weaknesses - and rumours have been circulating since January that it would fail its inspection.

Exam results in the city are well below the national average with fewer than a third of 16-year-olds achieving five or more higher grade GCSEs, compared with a national average of 45.1 per cent.

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