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Miles better, says Glasgow

Fed up with its inevitable positioning at the bottom of every education "league table", Glasgow is taking action.

The council has agreed to set up an attainment working group under the direct leadership of Steven Purcell, chair of its education committee. It will include headteachers, union representatives and education officials, and is expected to come up with recommendation by next summer.

"Glasgow City Council is determined that every effort is made to improve the educational attainment of children and young people," a report to last week's education committee declared. But it wants this to focus on wider achievement, not just exam results.

The hill that has to be climbed is shown in the council's education service plan for 2004-07, which reports that the attainment picture is one of "steady improvement", but modest in terms of the rest of Scotland. The 2005 target for the number of pupils expected to pass three or more Highers at the end of S6 is 19 per cent, which was the figure for 2001 (the national figure last year was 30 per cent).

Similarly, the city's target for those achieving the top Standard grades and Intermediate 2 next year is 33 per cent, the same as last year; and the aim to have 69 per cent gaining Standard grades 3-4 or Intermediate 1 in 2005 is just 1 per cent up on last year.

None the less, the city points out that it has maintained or bettered its performance last year in four of the levels set out in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework, and slipped by just 1 per cent in another three areas.

Attendance at primary school has remained at 93 per cent over the past four years, which "stands comparison" with the national average of 95 per cent.

The secondary sector has seen attendance rise from 83.6 per cent in 2001 to 85.7 per cent last year, near to the national figure of 88 per cent.

The number of exclusions per 1,000 pupils has fallen by more than 30 per cent in primary and secondary over the past three years.

At 5-14, results in primary were maintained but slipped back to the level of 2001 in S1-S2 maths. New "challenging" targets have now been set.

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