Misunderstood in Kirklees

20th June 1997 at 01:00
May we correct a possible misapprehension in part of Gerald Haigh's case study of Kirklees's benchmarking initiative, "Towards a philosophy of improvement", (TES, June 6).

The article suggests that we are keen to avoid deep questioning about the validity or reliability of the various measures contained within the primary school profile. Something must have got lost in translation. We are educationists. We thrive on deep questioning. The data given to schools is as reliable as any held by the local education authority, given that it is taken from Form 7 and statutory attainment returns.

What we warned against was the danger of schools being distracted by simplistic interpretations, from the main tasks of observing, analysing and asking questions about themselves. The aim of the Kirklees benchmarking project is to help schools improve the effectiveness of their development planning. Schools that are using the benchmarks as part of "proving improvement" are gaining confidence about their ability to improve and are more secure in the knowledge of their starting-point for change.

SUE MULVANY and JERRY BROWN Kirklees Education Advisory Service The Deighton Centre Deighton Road Huddersfield West Yorkshire

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