Target mania

17th August 2001 at 01:00
David Blunkett's former spin doctor Conor Ryan now advocates streamlined targets in education ("Our target should be to streamline targets", TES, August 3). But he is unlikely to admit that the Government got it wrong.

Blairite target mania has severely compromised the quality of public services. In any low-trust, target-driven system, crude indicators themselves inevitably become more important than the qualities they purport to measure - particularly when "name and shame" is the consequence of "failure". Those monitored waste time and resources outmanoeuvring the target measurement process (cheating being a case in point).

The Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies have done a great service in exposing the Emperor's New Clothes nature of this statistical madness. Their vision of educational quality inspires far more confidence than the tired targeting agenda peddled by Conor Ryan.

Richard House 13 Denbigh Road, Norwich

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