Targets must be set on basis of evidence

11th July 1997 at 01:00
As usual, Ted Wragg has made vitally important points in an amusing, accessible way (TES, June 27). Mission statements and development plans were the targets - to be shot at, not achieved. Some of us agree that "efficiency is maximising the time spent on what is important, minimising the distractions" and that mission statements and development plans are examples of distractions.

Others, however, will equally strongly disagree - and in equally good faith. This is all symptomatic of pre-scientific reasoning, reasoning based on debate, not evidence. What needs to be adopted as a guide to national educational policy is evidence, not opinion and not authority. Before schools are required to implement policies which are costly in time and money and take people away from teaching, learning and creating a high quality of life, there should have been evaluations of these policies. Are they effective? Do schools required to create five-year plans actually do better than schools not forced to accept such policies? Do they do better on important criteria such as pupil progress ("value added") and parental satisfaction? Where is the evidence?

CAROL TAYLOR FITZ-GIBBON Professor of education University of Durham

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now