Flexible friends

24th October 2008 at 01:00

In a school where almost half the pupils are Portuguese-speaking, collecting data on that specific group's achievements is common sense.

Christopher Toye, headteacher of Wyvil Primary in Vauxhall, London, has seen a large rise in such pupils, whose families are mostly from Madeira, but also from Cap Verde, Angola and Brazil.

So his staff monitor how groups of pupils perform compared to each other, not just in tests, but in the school's behavioural records, reward and achievement records and on the gifted and talented register. The information is used to target extra staff and resources where they are most effective. The Government is proposing that local authorities have a similar flexibility.

Mr Toye supports local flexibility. He said: "The data we collect helps combat any issues that come from a particular group's background. We try to ensure our own systems are not creating difficulties or holding back any of the children.

"Local authorities may similarly identify groups that need support. But I can't imagine many other boroughs needing to set targets for Portuguese heritage pupils. Using the information to inform local decisions is sensible, but just setting overly-complex national targets is an unnecessary level of bureaucracy. Taking that out of the equation seems sensible."

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