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Last Updated: Friday, 12 October 2007, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Schools get new progress targets
Pupil taking exam
Ministers want to see attainment gaps being tackled
Schools have been given new government targets for the progress children in England make during their education.

Targets remain for getting a certain proportion of pupils past particular levels in Sats tests and GCSEs.

But new ones from the Treasury involve children going up by at least two national curriculum levels from their starting points in each Key Stage.

Schools must also narrow the attainment gap between the poor and the rest. Unions say it all overburdens teachers.

The new targets are contained in the public service agreements that accompanied the chancellor's announcement of some extra money for education in England.

Treasury documents say the government wants to see a society where all children and young people achieve their full potential "and where the momentum of success, enjoyment and learning continues into their adult lives".

This is said to be essential to support the economic growth the UK needs to be globally competitive.

'Inequal chances'

The Treasury says there have been major improvements in educational standards at all Key Stages over the last 10 years - though others dispute this.

"However, previous aspirational targets at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 have not been met and the improvements of the past decade have not delivered equal chances of success for all children and young people," it said.

"For example the progress made by lower income children and children in care is still not nearly good enough."

So the targets are, over the three years to 2011:

  • Key Stage 2: English 90% of children, maths 84%
  • Key Stage 3: English 46%, maths 74%
  • Key Stage 4: English 71%, maths 40%

  • raise the proportion of young children achieving a total points score of at least 78 in the early years foundation stage profiles by four percentage points above the 2008 level
  • 78% achieving Level 4 in both English and maths at Key Stage 2
  • 74% achieving level 5 in both English and maths at Key Stage 3
  • 53% achieving five A*-C GCSEs (and equivalent), including English and maths GCSEs
  • 82% achieving Level 2 qualifications by age 19
  • 54% achieving Level 3 qualifications by age 19

  • raise lowest 20% of foundation stage results to close gap with the median score by three percentage points from the 2008 results
  • 60% children in care achieving Level 4 in English at Key Stage 2 and 55% in maths
  • 20% children in care achieving five A*-C GCSEs (and equivalent)
The head of the Association of School and College Leaders, John Dunford, said he accepted the need to narrow the attainment gap but schools already faced too many targets.

"School leaders want to know which targets are disappearing to make way for the new ones," he told the Times Educational Supplement.

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