Over £50 million has been allocated in this academic year to support national challenge schools. This includes funding for extra teachers and teaching assistants, where schools and local authorities have identified the need. Further details will be made available in local authority plans, which will be published by local authorities today.
The final GCSE figures for 2008 show that there has been a substantial fall in the number of schools below the floor target of 30 per cent. 5A*-C including English and Maths, from 631 in 2007 to 440 in 2008. This reduction is a reflection of the hard work of staff and pupils and the success of our policies for raising standards. The National Challenge is accelerating progress by providing each school below the 30 per cent. threshold and those at risk with a National Challenge adviser and a bespoke package of support, targeted at the particular needs of each school.