British ministers have threatened to close down thousands of primary schools because of their poor showing in exams.
As revealed by parents' groups, a huge number of children are leaving primary school without properly understanding the 3Rs.
A target has now been set for the primary schools, which will decide their fate.
From the official figures, at least 1,484 primaries failed to get 65 per cent of their pupils to the benchmark in English last year, and 2,026 schools missed the target in maths.
In order to deal with the problem, the new focus on low-scoring primary schools, to be launched next year, follows last month's controversial "National Challenge" plan to turn around or close 638 secondary schools with the worst exam results.
Taking into consideration about the needs of most, head teachers said schools with high numbers of deprived, ethnic minority and special needs children would be unfairly condemned.
"If this is run in the macho way that the National Challenge was presented, with the Prime Minister talking about 'failing schools', when most are not in fact failing, it will cause a huge problem," Telegraph quoted Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, as saying.
The move against the under performing primary schools has been seen as a necessity, as parents would definitely like their children to have the basic grasp of reading, writing and arithmetic, before moving on to a higher level.