In her "investment for reform" deal with the Treasury, the Education Secretary, Estelle Morris, has agreed to a series of performance targets.
They involve sustaining improvements in England's primary schools, raising attainment in secondary schools and improving adults' skills.
Estelle Morris spells out plans for reform.
Where national curriculum tests are concerned the objectives restate some existing targets and bring in some new ones, notably for reducing underachievement.
Early secondary years
- by 2004, 85% of 11 year olds achieving at least the national curriculum level expected of their age in English and maths, with 35% getting the level above that.
- that performance to be sustained to 2006
- by 2006, the number of schools in which less than 65% of pupils achieve the expected level will be "significantly reduced"
Inclusion and sport
- by 2004, 75% of 14 year olds achieving at least the level expected of their age in English, maths and information and communication technology (ICT), 70% in science, with 85% by 2007 (80% in science)
- by 2007, the number of schools where fewer than 60% reach the level will be "significantly reduced"
- by 2007, 90% of pupils reach the level expected of 11 year olds by the time they are 12.
- by 2004, reduce school truancies by 10% compared to 2002, sustain the new lower level, and improve overall attendance levels thereafter
- by 2006, increase from 25% to 75% the percentage of pupils aged five to 16 spending at least two hours a week on "high quality PE" and school sport within and beyond the curriculum - a joint target with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Further, higher and adult education
- between 2002 and 2006 the proportion of 16 year olds getting the equivalent of at least five GCSEs at grades A* to C rises by two percentage points each year on average
- in all schools at least 20% of pupils achieve this standard by 2004, rising to 25% by
- the proportion of 19 year olds who achieve this standard rises by three percentage points
between 2002 and 2004, with a further increase of three percentage points by 2006.
- by 2004, at least 28% of young people to start a Modern Apprenticeship by age 22.
- "challenging targets" will be set for further education colleges and other providers
- by 2010, increase participation in higher education towards 50% of those aged 18 to 30 - widening access and cutting dropout rates
- improve the basic skill levels of 1.5 million adults by 2007, with a milestone of 750,000 by 2004
- reduce by at least 40% the number of adults in the UK workforce who lack NVQ Level 2 or
equivalent qualifications by 2010, with a million working adults achieving Level 2 between 2003 and 2006.