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The wrong kind of targets

I write in response to your article on setting primary targets "Shortfall predicted on primary targets", TES, September 30).

The statement that "Wolverhampton is the council most out of step with its schools" is misleading and unsubstantiated. The high key stage 2 targets you refer to are part of a local public service agreement with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

This agreement, made in 2001, was outside the Department for Education and Skills process and cannot be changed to reflect targets set by schools in line with the changes in target-setting procedures in 2003.

The last Ofsted inspection of Wolverhampton education authority in 2004 described these targets as unrealistically high.

Wolverhampton supports schools that set their targets using information about pupils' previous performance and other contextual information.

Schools set challenging but realistic targets based on their knowledge of individual pupils. Support is provided for schools through a school-LEA agreement to achieve targets that schools set themselves.

The close working relationship between the local authority and schools in Wolverhampton was described as "unique" by inspectors. It is therefore disappointing to see The TES make these comments.

If anything is "out of step" it is a system which produces multiple and conflicting targets for schools and local authorities.

Roy Lockwood

Director for children and young people, Wolverhampton City Council, St

Peter's Square Wolverhampton

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