Target Setting and Benchmarking

Details of schools' self-evaluation, using performance data and other information, leading to sustained self-improvement.

Count, Read: Succeed - A Strategy to Improve Outcomes in Literacy and Numeracy

Section 8 of Count, read: succeed includes milestone targets for achievement in Literacy and Numeracy for 2011/12 and 2014/15 and long term targets for 2020.

The progress being made against the targets is being monitored on an ongoing basis. The targets are for average performance across all schools. While progress has been made, there is a pressing need for continued improvement in educational attainment across our system.

Raising standards starts with every pupil in every school and so each and every school needs to play its part through year-on-year improvement. The emphasis is on raising overall performance and narrowing the gap between the highest and lowest achievers, and between the most and least disadvantaged pupils.

Setting targets at individual school level  

Self-evaluation, using performance data and other information, leading to sustained self-improvement is at the core of Every School a Good School. Effective self-evaluation, and the actions that flow from it, should deliver educational improvement for all pupils.

School-level and pupil-level data will inform self-evaluation, and benchmarking of performance against other schools with similar characteristics. The data will support planning for improvement at pupil, class, year group, key stage and whole-school level.  Self-evaluation is an integral part of the school development planning process and the resulting actions and targets are captured in School Development Plans. Schools are required by legislation to set their own targets for improvement, including targets for literacy and numeracy, and include these in the School Development Plan.

It is up to individual schools to set their own realistic but challenging targets, based on their current performance trends and plans for improvement. When setting targets schools will wish to take into account a range of factors, including:

  • trends in performance by the school over previous years
  • the prior attainment of each year group
  • the context within which the school is operating and how it compares to schools in similar circumstances
  • the priorities set in the School Development Plan

Target Setting Guidance

Benchmarking Data

All schools are provided annually with benchmarking data to enable them to compare their performance in assessments and in public examinations with schools in similar circumstances, in terms of enrolment bands and proportions of pupils with free school meals entitlement.

The following circulars and associated annexes contain the general context for school development planning and provide the benchmarking information for target setting.

Primary Schools Circulars and Benchmarking Data

2018/19 Circular with 2017/18 primary schools benchmarking data

2017/18 Circular with 2016/17 primary schools benchmarking data

2016/17 Circular with 2015/16 primary schools benchmarking data

Post-primary Schools Circulars and Benchmarking Data

2019/20 Circular with 2018/19 post-primary schools benchmarking data

2018/19 Circular with 2017/18 post-primary schools benchmarking data

2017/18 circular with 2016/17 post-primary schools benchmarking data

2016/17 circular with 2015/16 post-primary schools benchmarking data



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