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Why targets shouldn't be what counts

It was depressing to read "We train teachers up just to break them down" (Professional, 30 May). Once more, it reflected how the meddling of target-obsessed politicians has not only stifled skilled and experienced teachers - forcing them to teach in the formulaic way that will fit the latest inspection schedule - but also demoralised those entering the profession.

Worse than that, in our desire to measure the often unmeasurable, we endlessly test children, who, unsurprisingly, lose whatever love they had for learning out of fear that they may not reach the required level.

Most teachers enter the profession with a genuine desire to make a difference. Before long, however, naive idealism is replaced by the need to meet targets. The difficulty is one of accountability. Just who is to blame if Jimmy doesn't meet his target grade? The answer won't be revealed by poring over data or solved by linking pay to targets. The writer is correct in suggesting that you get the best out of people by giving genuine support, not by quality-assuring outcomes. As the sociologist William Bruce Cameron said: "Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted."

Rob Pitcher

Trowbridge, Wiltshire

Short and tweet

If you'll be 16, 17 or 18 on 18 September, your vote is as important as any other. Tell us why you're voting with the #AyeNawMibbe hashtag.

@RightsSCCYP

#Ivotebecause I want to contribute to the shaping of a more equal, tolerant and welcoming society amp; to show young people care. #AyeNawMibbe

@3terrismith

I'm voting because, here, we have the chance to shape the future of our country. We have the right to vote, so let's use it! #AyeNawMibbe

@KirstyMSYP

"A man without a vote is man without protection." Lyndon B Johnson. #AyeNawMibbe

@JamieMacLeodCC

I'm voting because there are people across the world that don't have this right and we should be grateful #AyeNawMibbe @OfficialSYP

@NairnMcD

Many people complain about the issues in our society, yet avoid voting meaning you don't make your voice heard. #AyeNawMibbe You decide! VOTE

@MichelleSLCSA

I think parties need to get off their high horses and start talking to each other and give people the facts about independence. #AyeNawMibbe

@rhiannecarroll

@eichhorn_jan "Political apathy is not something that characterises young people when compared with adults." #AyeNawMibbe

@OfficialSYP

Letters for publication in TESS should arrive by 10am Monday. Send your letters, ideally of no more than 250 words in length, including contact address and phone number, by email to scotletters@tess.co.uk or by post to TES Scotland, Thistle House, 21-23 Thistle Street, Edinburgh EH2 1DF. Letters may be edited

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