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National targets met two years early;News;News amp; Opinion

RESULTS for Standard grade 1-2 are just 3 per cent short of the average 34 per cent target set nationally for 2001. The national progress report on targets is due to be published on December 15.

A TES Scotland analysis shows that six education authorities - East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, Orkney and Shetland - have already exceeded their individual 2001 targets for S grage Credits.

The 20 per cent rate of three or more Higher passes is also just

3 per cent below the national target. Only Aberdeen has gone beyond it with 22 per cent of Higher pupils getting three or more passes against the authority's 20 per cent target.

As we reported earlier this month, East Renfrewshire is the only one of the 32 authorities to have matched or surpassed all five general Standard and Higher grade targets. The council points out, however, that this has been achieved by some of its seven secondaries being well ahead of the game while other schools lag behind their individual targets.

"Schools cannot be complacent," John Wilson, the council's head of quality development, warns. "Best value is demonstrated only through consistent and sustained improvement year on year."

Glasgow, remarkably, has achieved four of its five Standard grade and Higher targets, the exception being the number of three-plus Highers. Critics will no doubt point to the use of free school meals as a poverty index which could have depressed the city's targets.

The Glasgow picture is also complicated this year since results from seven of the city's 29 secondaries cannot be compared with those of previous years as they have absorbed pupils from other schools under the council's closure and upgrading programme.

Orkney has become the first authority to have a 100 per cent record - all its fourth-year pupils emerged with five or more Standard grades at levels 1-6. But this was achieved on results from just two comprehensives and a four-year junior high.

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