National targets reflect national commitment
Those targets were intended to be challenging, and they are, but not unrealistically so. The National Foundation for Educational Research concluded earlier this year that Britain could reach both targets by 2000 and that there was no case for relaxing either of them. The right action must of course be taken to raise attainment levels further. The latest statistics show solid progress: by spring 1997 we were at 71.3 per cent and 48.8 per cent respectively, up from 68.4 per cent and 44.3 per cent in one year.
In its 1997 annual report "Skills for 2000", the National Advisory Council for Education and Training Targets recommended a further review of all national targets. We did so partly because Britain will probably now need longer to hit two of the other targets. But we were also conscious that the Government is committed to raising attainment in education and training.
We must ensure that Britain's national targets reflect fully the extent of that commitment. Following our recommendation, the Government immediately announced that it would indeed consult on what national targets there should be in future. We welcome that and will be working closely with the Government during the consultation.
Director National Advisory Council for Education and Training Targets London WC1