pounds 3m to help hit grades target; EDUCATION: Cash boost for Brum's 20 'challenge schools'.
NEARLY two dozen under-performing secondary schools in Birmingham are to receive a vital cash boost of nearly pounds 3 million to help improve classroom standards.
Birmingham City Council has secured pounds 2.8 million towards boosting attainment levels at the 20 schools facing the biggest challenges.
The schools all fall within the Government's National Challenge programme which aims to ensure that all secondary schools achieve at least 30 per cent of pupils gaining five top grade GCSE passes including English and maths by 2011. Birmingham has seen the number of National Challenge schools drop from 27 to 20 in the last 12 months.
But failure to achieve the 30 per cent target could leave them open to Government intervention including possible closure.
Coun Les Lawrence, Cabinet member for education and schools, said: "This additional resource will enable us to further support the teaching and support staff in seeking to raise levels of attainment particularly in English and Maths in those areas of the city facing the most significant challenges.
"It will also provide impetus to the focus that we are putting into regeneration and raising the aspirations of those communities within which many of these schools are located."
Schools working towards the National Challenge target will receive additional resources for English and maths, teaching and learning, additional leadership capacity and family learning.
Tony Howell, Birmingham's strategic director for children, young people and families, said he welcomed the additional focus that will benefit all children in the city.
"We have worked to ensure that any school facing these challenges will receive the appropriate support to improve the life chances of all Birmingham children."