Helen Liddell has ordered the Inspectorate to report on education authorities which have set lower targets for Standard grade and Higher performance than she had expected. She expressed her concern after the action group meeting.
Of the 2,688 final targets returned from 388 secondaries, 35 per cent were reduced from the provisional targets sent out by HMI in April and 22 per cent were down by more than the 1 per cent decreed by the Scottish Office. Some 57 per cent of the schools reduced at least one target by more than 1 per cent.
This means that the 6.9 per cent provisional improvement in the number of pupils with five or more Standard grades 1-4 has been reduced to 5.5 per cent over the next three years. Five or more Standard grades 1-2 are now expected by 5.3 per cent more pupils against 7 per cent.
The 32 education authorities vary from an 8.8 per cent improvement in Clackmannan for five-plus Standard grades 1-4, for example, to 1 per cent in the Western Isles. Similarly, improvements in five-plus Standard grades 1-2 range from Clackmannan's 9.1 per cent to Glasgow's 3.2 per cent.
The effect has been to reduce the number of better qualifications expected each year at Standard grade and Higher from 16,500 to 13,200.
Leader, page 22 School Management, page 26