Schools and authorities have begun to pilot up to 10 aspects of the development and it was now apparent that the group's time-scale was likely to slip. Ms Hayward said: "Real change, real improvements take time and you cannot dictate that policy develops in ways we have tried in the past."
The national review of assessment in 2000 confirmed that teachers "wanted evolution, not revolu-tion" and that would take the development beyond 2006.
She asserted that the ministerial group was intent on research-led policy and ruled out the old cascade methods of imparting change.
One headteacher, however, challenged her over the focus on personal learning plans. Ms Hayward said there was some evidence that they could make a useful contribution, although schools were cautious about the amount of extra bureaucracy involved.