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Winners and losers in the battle of percentages

THE tables show wide variations in the progress education authorities are making towards achievement of the targets, particularly at the 5-14 stages.

East Renfrewshire and Stirling have been set the most demanding 5-14 targets based on schools' starting points in 1998 and the nature of their catchment areas. But to date Stirling is 17 per cent below its 2001 target in writing and 14 per cent short in reading and maths. This compares with the respective national figures of

7 per cent and 4 per cent below.

By contrast, East Dunbartonshire is already aheadof targets in writing and Orkney in maths. No authority has exceeded its primary school targets in reading.

Stirling is also well behind all three targets for the first two years of secondary, particularly in writing where there is a difference of 36 per cent against a Scottish average of 9 per cent. East Renfrewshire is 32 per cent below in writing, 29 per cent in reading and

28 per cent in maths.

Orkney tops the 5-14 secondary results and is already 7 per cent ahead of its targets in reading and 9 per cent in writing, although HMI cautions against reading too much into the performance of small authorities where one or two larger schools can affect the results.

John Wilson, head of quality assurance in East Renfrewshire's education department, said the authority had agreed with schools to set high ambitions for 5-14 at 10 per cent above the national primary targets.

"This reflects the authority's position in relation to Standard grade and Higher results," Mr Wilson said, "and we felt in our relatively privileged position we should be making a bigger contribution towards the achievement of the targets nationally."

The variations are much less marked at Standard grade, from Clackmannan's 7 per cent below target for levels 1-4 to the 0.8 per cent above achieved in the Western Isles for Standard grades 1-2.

No authorities are ahead of their targets so far in the number of three or more Higher passes, while Shetland is at the other extreme of being 5 per cent short.

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