Ed Balls, Schools Secretary, has urged local authorities to request Ofsted inspections for secondaries that see a significant decline in results. And his office will demand an inspection if the local authority fails to act. But Mr Balls also said that the National Challenge programme, which supports schools where fewer than 30 per cent of pupils achieve five A*-C grades at GCSE, including maths and English, will achieve its school-improvement targets for 2011. In 2008, 440 secondaries were supported through this programme. But early feedback suggests that fewer than 270 schools will remain below this standard by 2011.
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