The number of primary schools failing to meet expected standards in English and maths fell dramatically this year, figures show.
Just 476 schools are below the expected level, compared with 1,310 schools in 2011. The improved results follow a toughening up of floor targets in 2010.
The target was raised to require 60 per cent of pupils to reach level 4 in English and maths, from a previous level of 55 per cent. Schools also have to ensure pupils make two levels of progression in English and maths. Schools that do not meet the targets face being turned into academies.
The government claimed that higher targets had led to the improved performance. Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT heads' union, said the results were "excellent news": "It shows the hard work that's going on in the system and has been for some years."
As well as the 476 schools that are below the expected level, a further 45 that did not meet the standard have since closed, with 37 becoming academies.