Inspectors insist that poverty is an excuse. Call for extra funding for schools in deprived areas undermines Education Secretary's hardline ultimatum.
Morpeth school London
Number of pupils: 1,100
Percentage on free school meals: 70 per cent
Results: 32 per cent of pupils get 5 GCSEs A*-C; 97 per cent get 5 GCSEs A*-G
ALASDAIR MACDONALD, 50, has been head of Morpeth secondary in Tower Hamlets for seven years. He attributes the success of his school to teamwork, the commitment and quality of staff, and support from surrounding schools.
Another approach is to seek support from surrounding schools. "It may be unfashionable but schools around here support each other. It doesn't help in a disadvantaged area to think the school down the road is the enemy." Their school, he added, did have an "anti-boffin" culture. "We are trying to make it okay to want to succeed."