Nottingham has the country’s joint second lowest percentage of pupils getting five GCSEs at A* to C including English and maths.
According to provisional GCSE and equivalent results published by the Department for Education, just 41.5 per cent of pupils achieved this mark.
And just under half – 48.6 per cent – of pupils across the city achieved any five GCSEs or equivalents at A* to C.
Nottingham City Council’s portfolio holder for schools, Councillor Sam Webster, said: “The results are not good enough, they are not where we want them to be.
“Nottingham children deserve the very best education and at the moment, the exam results are not where anyone involved with education in Nottingham would be satisfied with.
“What I would urge is that all schools and academies in Nottingham work together and more closely with Nottingham city council to make sure those improvements happen as soon as possible.”
Video: Councillor Sam Webster calls on Nottingham schools to make improvements
Nottinghamshire county performed better, with 55.4 per cent of students getting five GCSE or equivalents including English and maths, and 64.5 per cent achieving any five.
What we need to be asking is what might be some of the causes for those results
Peter Gates, associate professor at the University of Nottingham school of education, said: “What we need to be asking is what might be some of the causes for those results in spite of the enormous hard work that is done in schools, the enormous skill of teachers and the desire of the local authority to try and change that situation.
“One of the most significant factors in school achievements is about affluence and social class of the population.
“If you’ve got a population that is largely from a relatively deprived or disadvantaged background, you’re going to find kids have a lot more difficulty achieving success in school, and I think that’s largely the situation in Nottingham.”
Video: Prof Peter Gates says the figures are linked to levels of deprivation in Nottingham
Last year Nottingham was the third worst performing local authority in the country when it came to GCSE grades.
This year only Knowsley in Merseyside is ranked below the city.
Former Nottingham headteacher Michael McKeever – who now works with a teaching recruitment agency – says the city has long-term problems.
He said: “There’s a very high level of in-migration and a lot of these pupils are arriving in the city without any English and some of them are impacting on GCSE results, without a shadow of a doubt.”