Pupils are struggling with maths and English at secondary school
The Department for Education figures showed that 38% are not progressing with maths studies in line with expectations and that three in 10 are behind in English.
It is thought the figures could see some families look to private tutors and after school learning to boost their children's prowess in the nuts and bolts subjects.
The figures showed that girls are progressing faster than boys in the subjects and that the gender gap for maths has grown since 2009.
The research found that the progress made by more than 215,000 state school pupils studying maths was below expectations, between starting secondary school and taking GCSE exams.
In the same period, more than 170,000 youngsters failed to make the expected progress in English.
On average, if a child leaves primary school with a Level 4 in maths or English, they are expected to get a C in the subject at GCSE.
The statistics, for 2010, show that two fifths (39.5%) of boys failed to make the expected progress in maths, compared to more than a third (36.5%) of girls - a gap of three percentage points. In 2009, the gap was only 2.2%.
In English, 36.7% of boys failed to make the expected progress last year, compared to 24.9% of girls - a gap of 11.8%. This gap was 11.1% in 2009.
These figures are for all maintained schools, including special schools, academies and city technology colleges.