COUNCIL watchdogs in Barnsley have told education bosses they expect "robust action" to improve GCSE performance levels at so-called failing schools.
The Children's Services Scrutiny Commission has demanded action after eight of Barnsley's 13 secondaries were warned by the Government to buck up - or face closure.
Fewer than 30 per cent of pupils in the eight schools failed to reach the Government target of five A* to C grade GCSEs including English and maths. Commission members were told 638 schools nationally are currently below target.
Now they want assurances from education chiefs that a robust planning procedure is in place to ensure all eight schools in Barnsley will meet the threshold by 2011.
Coun Linda Burgess, cabinet spokeswoman for children, young people and families, promised four of the eight schools were already expected to achieve higher than 30 per cent in this summer's GCSE results.
And the commission was told the gap between Barnsley and the national average in GCSE results had halved in 2007.
In terms of 'added value' - the progress pupils make at school - Barnsley is ranked nationally 43rd out of 149, or 56 places higher than last year.
The schools currently failing to meet the national target are Foulstone, St Michael's Catholic and Church of England High, Priory School and Sports College, Edward Sheerien, Royston High, Willowgarth High, The Barnsley Academy and Dearne High.
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