What I said at the National Association of Emotional and Behavioural Difficulty Schools conference was that there is a strong case for challenging targets. When they were set, the 2002 targets were indeed seen as stretching. They were meant to be - the need to raise standards was urgent. But they had been carefully, realistically constructed and I never suggested otherwise. Both literacy and numeracy task forces said the targets were achievable if they were backed by the right national strategies - as they were.
The education service is on course to meet the Government's (key stage 2) targets of 80 per cent of pupils getting level 4 in English and 75 per cent in maths by 2002. Given that, I simply do not see how the targets can now be considered unreasonable.
Chris Wells Special Educational Needs Division Department for Education and Skills Great Smith Street, London SW1