Overview and Context

Target setting has become an annual activity in our schools. The target setting process has been described as both an "art and a science".

All pupils and young people bring their own brand of individuality, differing degrees of knowledge, skills and understanding about subjects and a multitude of personal attributes. Fortunately, no two pupils or young people are the same!

There is already a wide range of professional advice, support and published materials on target setting that is readily available. Every school will have drawn on such resources to develop and implement their own system for target setting.

This guide provides a series of checklists for the busy professional and governors to support the process of target setting for pupils and young people. The document has been designed to supplement existing advice and materials and is organised into inter-linked sections, each with an appropriate checklist that is relevant to:

  • Classroom/subject teachers;
  • Leadership teams;
  • Governors.

Each checklist poses a series of questions in a form that provides a quality assurance for the school target setting process. At the very least, this approach provides a record of self-review and also prompts that cover most of the aspects for consideration. Ultimately, the rigour of any target setting approach will always depend on the way the overall process is led and managed, the quality of information and training that has been provided as well as the professionalism and commitment of all of those involved.

The overall goal is, of course, to provide realistic but aspirational targets that provide the best indication about the potential performance of the individual pupils and young people as well as the prospects for the future performance of the school. The very process of target setting may also identify areas that can become the focus of school improvement to ensure that every pupil or young person is able to realise their potential.

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Quality Assuring Target Setting