COUNCIL chiefs in Worcestershire are going to launch an 'improvement plan' into Key Stage 2 results amid concern the county is underperforming.

As the Worcester News revealed earlier this month, only 47 per cent of 10 and 11-year-olds in Worcestershire left primary school at the expected standard this year.

The Key Stage 2 Sats results, covering reading, writing and maths, came in six per cent below the national average of 53 per cent.

Worcestershire County Council has now agreed to look into it and see if a plan can be put together to improve the results next time.

Concerned councillors from the Lib Dem and Green groups said Worcestershire cannot claim to be "world class" unless the results were better.

The Conservative leadership agreed on the need to improve it but urged politicians to be positive, reminding them that nine out of 10 county schools are rated good or outstanding, and insisted performances 'catch up' by the time pupils leave school at 16.

This was the first year of new tougher Sats, which reflected the more challenging curriculum brought in by the Government in 2014.

The improvement plan will be worked on with Babcock, the private company which provides support to schools under a contract.

Lib Dem Councillor Fran Oborski, speaking during a full council meeting, said: "Yes, as a local authority we are not directly responsible for schools and school standards, but this (the Sats results) is really worrying.

"It's really not acceptable, it is something that must be of serious concern to us all."

Fellow Lib Dem Councillor Liz Tucker, the group leader, added: "I find it shocking that we find ourselves below the national average.

"We aspire to be among the best, we did not expect to be where we are - it is very serious.

"As a council we get quite smug about 'world class Worcestershire' but this is core, basic stuff, we must make sure it doesn't happen again."

Councillor Marc Bayliss, the cabinet member for children and families, said it was not a "new" issue, and told the chamber that politicians who held the role before him had highlighted it in previous years.

He said schools are doing "fantastically well" in delivering the right kind of outcomes, pointing to Key Stage 4 results being much better.

He also said pupils who leave school at 16 get the right results, adding: "I hope that's the message that resonates from this chamber."

The motion was accepted by all the political parties.