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Letters extra: more targets than Robin Hood

I have this week completed the second round of the bureaucratic merry-go-round that is performance management, namely the threshold assessment for my staff and the setting of my own targets. The time it has taken would probably offend the Rail Regulator if it I were in the transport sector, but enough carping.

In both cases I was fortunate in that I had a courteous and well-organised colleague with whom I enjoyed a professional dialogue, who listed to my point of view and in one area took my word on an issue without my providing a kilogram of written evidence.

I have not completely lost my irritation at having to devise three targets because I have more targets in my professional life than Robin Hood and Bisley put together. However I think it important that we share the process undergone by "our troops" and it is useful to share issues with another professional.

My over-riding impressions however are that it is so time-consuming; so expensive in manpower on both sides and so obviously driven by a DfEE machine that is still making sure that everyone is "on message".

The saddest feature for me is the underlying message that we are still not to be trusted to do our job and that every part of the process is underpinned by target driven evidence. It really does give support to those of us who believe that schools must move to rigorous and efficient systems of self-evaluation where honest debate can take place to ensure school improvement without the attendant clammy grasp of central bureaucracy.

Tony Roberts Walton le Dale community primary school, Preston, Lancashire

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