Their solution was simple: move the target so that you can't miss it. Now, schools will be able to set their own targets. These, according to the DfES, will be targets they can own and believe in, but that will be nonetheless ambitious. There is mention of aims for adding value.
We at St Jude's are delighted that the DfES is finally coming round to our way of thinking, although there is still some way to go. We have owned and believed in our own targets for years; admittedly some of them are full of holes, but that's just through excessive use. We are enthusiastic practitioners of appropriate stretching, which we do in our sound-proofed basement. Some of the other requirements are a little tricky: our school motto, "Abandon ambition all ye who enter here", may have to be changed. As for adding value, our aims have rather tended to remove it permanently. But we are confident that, by assigning all future intake with negative values to begin with, we will be able to show a year-on-year improvement. After all, we're not twinned with the William Tell primary school for nothing.