TARGETS are taken more seriously in Wales where headteachers are under less pressure to set unrealistic goals. But Welsh heads remain concerned that the emphasis on English, maths and science narrows the curriculum.
The Welsh Assembly has set a national target of between 80 and 85 per cent of pupils achieving level 4 in English and maths by 2004 compared with a fixed 85 per cent in England. The most striking difference the TESFDS poll found was that 90 per cent of heads in Wales felt their own targets were achievable, compared to just 65 per cent in England. More than a quarter of heads in England and 19 per cent in Wales said meeting their school targets was not important.
Richard Edwards, head of Lansdowne primary, Cardiff, said: "We do get some pressure from the local education authority to set challenging targets but they do not insist on targets - they have a very reasonable approach."
Sixty-two per cent of the 100 Welsh heads polled thought the national target was too high, but around half believed it will be achieved by 2006.
In England, where the target is 85 per cent, 86 per cent of the 400 heads asked said it was not achievable in 2004 and 72 per cent believed it would not be met by 2006.