Schools threatened with closure by Education Secretary Ed Balls have made significant improvements, according to GCSE results published today.

Thousands of pupils across Sussex will make their way to their schools today to discover how they fared in this year’s exams. Early indications suggest record pass rates.

Particular attention will be paid to the results at 11 schools named by Mr Balls on a national list of those where he wanted standards to improve.

The schools have been told they have until 2011 to boost pass rates for the proportion of pupils earning five A* to C grades, including English and maths, to 30%.

Mr Balls said those which failed could be closed or forced to become academies.

Four of the schools said their grades had already improved and two had pushed clear of the 30% target.

Paula Sargent, headteacher of Patcham High in Brighton, said it had improved its pass rate by 4% to 27%.

Mrs Sargent said: “We’re absolutely delighted that the school’s continued hard work is paying off and we’re very confident that, with this upward trajectory, we will exceed the Government’s target next year.”

The headteachers of King’s Manor Community College in Shoreham and The Causeway School in Eastbourne said their schools had broken through the 30% mark.

It was the second landmark in a a week for King’s Manor after 18-year-old Liam Whitton, from Shoreham, became its first pupil to win a place at Oxford University.

Causeway headteacher Alison Dearden said its pass rate had jumped by 10%.

She said: “These results demonstrate the huge improvements that have taken place at the Causeway, particularly the high standards of teaching and the inspirational staff who support the students.”

Eastbourne Technology College and Falmer High, in Brighton, which also featured on the list, said they had seen improvements in overall results but needed to boost grades in maths.