A new report published by OFSTED this week identifies typical characteristics of failing schools. In weak primaries literacy and numeracy standards are too low, the ability range is usually below the national average, and there will be particular weakness at key stage 2. Weak secondaries have bad GCSE results, pupils' behaviour and attendance is poor and exclusion rates are high. The school will typically have a small or falling roll with more boys than girls.
From Failure to Success - How Special Measures are Helping Schools Improve is available from OFSTED.