Wails from Wales

14th April 2006 at 01:00
We've had Lethal Weapon 2, Shrek 2 and Basic Instinct 2 - now make way for The Learning Country 2: Delivering the Promise, the second instalment of Wales's plans for education and lifelong learning up to 2010.

Jane Davidson, Welsh education minister, has solid achievements to report from the past five years. The Assembly has ditched national tests, capital spending has shot up and standards have risen across the board. But there's a bit of a problem with targets. The Assembly has missed most of them - on attendance and at key stages 2, 3 and 4 - and has now revised them downwards.

The doughty Ms Davidson shakes off these trifling lapses. She had inherited most of the previous targets from "two different administrations", she explained. "We hadn't done the research to see if they were fit for purpose."

This must be a reference to targets set by colonial rulers, such as Peter Hain, before the Welsh Assembly was established in 1999.

But Ms Davidson had been in post for nearly a year before The Learning Country was published in September 2001. And the Diary is not impressed with the weaselly new expression for targets: they're "forward outcome indicators" now.

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