Education Secretary David Blunkett was heckled by delegates as he announced plans to improve the country's worst-performing schools at a conference organised by the National Union of Teachers.
The announcement of the pound;100,000 superheads' salary was greeted with derision.
But Mr Blunkett challenged critics to send their children to schools where one in five pupils left with no qualifications and just sit by and watch them fail.
Ten "superheads", while keeping responsibility for their own school, will be put in charge of clusters of up to five struggling secondaries, which will retain their own heads and mangement teams.
The superheads will move on after two years tohelp others.
The clusters will probably be geographically based but some may use new technology to link up.
Mr Blunkett said: "The aim will be to turn around schools that are struggling before they fail. These heads will work in co-operation with the existing school managements and will have at their disposal additional resources to tackle improvement issues."
Each of the 530 lowest-performing schools is also to be twinned with a partner, either a beacon or specialist school, or one with a proven track record. Their progress will be monitored by the Department for Education and Employment which currently monitors the 200 lowest-performing schools.
Mr Blunkett said he wanted the benefits of the Excellence in Cities initiatives to be available to all 530 schools even though many were not in the specified areas.