Heads told what to expect on targets

20th February 1998 at 00:00
The head of the Inspectorate has taken what he calls the "unusual" step of + writing directly to all headteachers alerting them of the need to prepare for + target setting. Douglas Osler says heads should reserve space in their + development plans for "action to raise attainment". The timetable for target + setting was agreed yesterday (Thursday) by the Education Minister's action + group on standards. The details will be revealed to education conveners and + directors at a seminar on March 4. Shelagh Rae, president of the Association + of Directors of Education, said directors would be concerned if there was + "overprescription". The issue was not target setting itself but the way it was + done. "Education authorities must have the freedom to discuss targets in + partnership with their schools and not simply confirm those laid down by the + centre."Mrs Rae said: "If there was room for negotiation between an authority + and its schools and between authorities and the Scottish Office, that would be + acceptable."Targets for improving Higher and Standard grade performance will be+ issued to schools in early April and confirmed by education authorities to + HMI's audit unit in early June. For 5-14 attainment, schools will complete + surveys between early April and the second Friday in June. Provisional targets + will be issued between October and November and then confirmed by education + authorities. The composition of the targets is also now clear, if complex. The + Scottish Office will use the school characteristics index to identify schools + of similar nature. For each school a "starting level" will be fixed by + averaging its last three years' attainment. Then, using the similar attainment + from the 10 schools immediately above it, a benchmark will be produced. The + position of a school's starting level in relation to the benchmark will show + the scope for improvement.For many schools the provisional target will be the + equivalent of the scope for improvement, and no provisional target will be + lower than the average improvement across all schools over the past three + years. No provisional target will be higher than the level of improvement + needed for the school to have been in the top 10 per cent of all schools.It + will be up to each school to decide with its education authority what level of + improvement appears in its development plan. In most cases that will be the + provisional target, but it could be higher. It could also be up to 1 per cent + lower unless that put the school below the minimum target.A Scottish Office + paper for the action group meeting emphasises: "The targets that will be set by+ schools are not an end in themselves. They are a focus for planning for + improvement. Having set targets, schools will have to plan how they are to be + achieved."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today