Moving targets;Letter

19th March 1999 at 00:00
THERE IS a contradiction at the heart of public pronouncements on school targets. On the one hand, the Audit Unit admits that FME (free school meals entitlement) as a basis for target-setting is a first attempt and not the best basis to use for calculation. From that statement the obvious conclusion to draw is that the process is flawed and some targets (dare I say it?) will be wrong.

On the other hand, ministers express serious concern that quite a few schools have lowered their targets by more than the permitted 1 per cent. Could it not be that these very same schools are the ones whose targets are wrong, and therefore they have every justification in reducing them?

Nowhere have I seen these two facts brought together, the tenor of all ministerial and Scottish Office comment on the lowering of targets being disappointment at schools not "taking up the challenge".

I would like to know how condemnation of schools lowering targets can be justified in the light of the acknowledged provisional nature of the target-setting process.

Alison Kirby Convener Scottish Parent Teacher Council

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