School sixth forms will be expected to have 91 per cent of their pupils completing their courses, new government figures suggest.

From this year, sixth forms will be measured by five headline statistics – one of which includes retention, the proportion of courses completed.

Official statistics released for the first time this week show that in 2014-15, 91 per cent of pupils completed their courses. Ninety-four per cent completed their A-levels.

Male and female students had equal retention rates, but the statistics did reveal that the average number of A-levels taken by pupils last year dropped from 3.9 to 3.6.

Sixth forms with low performance in their headline measures are expected to face intervention from regional school commissioners.