Almost 800 struggling primary schools face being taken over or closed as part of a radical plan to combat "chronic underperformance" in the state education system, The Telegraph reports.
School-by-school league tables published today showed that 767 state primaries in England - collectively teaching almost 200,000 pupils - failed to meet minimum standards in the three-Rs this summer.
The number of failing schools jumped by almost 50% over the last 12 months after the Coalition changed the key indicator used to assess pupil performance. In one local authority area, a third of schools fell below the benchmark.
For the first time, schools must ensure at least six-in-10 pupils gain good results in separate reading, writing and maths assessments or face being dragged on to the government blacklist.
Officials said schools with a "long history of underperformance" would be pulled out of local authority control and turned into academies under the leadership of a private sponsor.
The intervention is likely to lead to a sharp rise in the number of "sponsored academies" - from just 470 at the moment - despite widespread opposition from teaching unions who claim it represents a backdoor attempt to privatise the state education system.
But the Department for Education said: "Schools with a long history of underperformance, and who are not stepping up to the mark, will be taken over by an academy sponsor. Some of the improvements seen at new sponsored primary academies are remarkable - ending years of chronic underperformance."
Some 25 schools had their results annulled because of cheating by teachers or pupils, including the primary that topped the 2012 tables, Newton Farm in north London.
Poole was the worst-performing local authority, with a third of its schools below government floor targets, followed by Derby (17%), Bradford (16%) and Suffolk (14%).
Today's tables chart standards achieved by some 540,000 pupils in 15,452 schools across England.