Targets are a parent's friend

24th July 1998 at 01:00
BRIAN Boyd's reminiscence of his son's progress through primary school painted a pleasant and reassuring scene that evoked similar recent memories of my own four children's progress through Alexandra Roman Catholic primary in Airdrie.

It also, however, fanned some embers of latent unease that he was promoting the idea that one should still value more the "non-academic" achievements, so well facilitated in both our experiences, while retaining a negative attitude to those seeking to ensure that academic attainment is constantly improved.

Schools have become much better at celebrating a wide range of personal and social achievements. I am not so convinced that the same progress has been made in relation to academic achievement. Had there been, then the Scottish Office would not be driving its target-setting initiative with such determination.

We all want our children to emerge from schooling with confidence in themselves and possessed of many skills, but they are entering the adult world of work that also expects them to have attained. Will, for example, North Lanarkshire's initiatives ensure both?

If, along with the excellent initiatives listed by Dr Boyd, there had also been strategies for the retraining of incompetent teachers and the management of subject selection, then I might have been reassured that as my four children emerge from secondary school I will have the same satisfaction as when they left primary.

I would find some early reassurance in knowing that their school was engaging seriously in the target-setting process.

Kate Reid Head of Education Development and Quality Assurance West Lothian Council Bathgate

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