Labour accused the ruling Conservatives of failing Peterborough’s children during a city council discussion on education.
Members on the children and education scrutiny committee said the latest SATS results - which had Peterborough second bottom in the league table for a second straight year - showed the city had “let down” primary school pupils.
The results were published a day after a review of education in the city was revealed.
The review’s author, cabinet member for education Cllr Lynne Ayres, was questioned by committee members at last week’s meeting.
She said her review highlighted a number of challenges in the city, including a high mobility of pupils, continuous changes to exams, many schools converting to academies and a loss of funding.
But she added: “I want to emphasise these are not excuses. I’m not trying to excuse the results we have I’m trying to explain them.”
The report includes several recommendations, including improving the analysis of school data to target improvement action and greater collaboration between the authorities.
But Labour member Cllr Alan Dowson said the SATS results were “absolutely shameful.”
He added: “I’m wondering if the council will admit that something is wrong. I feel excuses have been made here about the changes to education, changes in academies.
“You have not identified the reasons why we are failing, and we are failing. I think the recommendations are a cover. It’s the worst show I’ve ever seen.”
Cllr Matthew Mahabadi, Labour and Co-operative member, said: “This really is a tragedy. We as a city have let down our children. It’s shameful - I’m genuinely upset at these results.” Conservative member Cllr Ray Bisby said the results could be affected by delays in families who are new to Peterborough getting a school place.
Cllr Ayres was also told that more should have been included in her report on church schools and governors.