No gain, just pain

2nd May 2003 at 01:00
JOHN Wilks, head of West St Leonards primary, East Sussex, describes his targets this year as "fanciful".

Last year, 49 per cent of his pupils achieved level 4 in English and 56 per cent in maths but his local authority has told him that his 2003 target should be 79 per cent in English and 80 per cent in maths.

Last year, almost a third of children taking the tests at the 454-pupil school had special educational needs and three full-time staff left,including a Year 6 teacher whowas also English co-ordinator.

He said: "As head, I'm in theauthority's sights. You cannot return the sorts of scores we did last yearwithout attracting an amount of attention. You come under tremendous pressure. They come along to 'help' you and come along frequently and powerfully."

Between 1999 and 2001, the school's English and maths results fluctuated between 56 per cent and 67 per cent.

Mr Wilks said: "Something around the 70 per cent mark is realistic - that is what we are hoping to do. Getting above 80 per cent is fanciful. It is a game, played for high stakes. If you do not achieve what you are required to, you are continually got at."

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