Every statistic matters

The DCSF has published a revised ‘outcomes framework’ for their ‘Every Child Matters’ agenda. You may remember that the original version included targets for the number of children eating 5 fruit’n’veg per day, but this has been expunged from the latest edition.

It’s a puzzling document – a mixture of vague, undefined aims like:

‘Increase the number of children and young people on the path to success’; ‘Improve the skills of the population, on the way to ensuring a world class skills base by 2020’; ‘Promote world class science and innovation in the UK’

political grandstanding:

‘Deliver a successful Olympic and Paralympics games with a sustainable legacy and get more children and young people taking part in high quality PE and sport’

and pernickety little measurements:

‘Percentage of pupils who have school lunches’; ‘Bus services running on time’; ‘Gap between initial participation rate in full time higher education rates for young people aged 18, 19 and 20 from the top three and bottom four socio-economic classes’

The only thing that you can be sure of is that each of the hundreds of little targets will demand even more data collection. It really is worth having a good look at the whole framework – even if it does look like a glorified classroom wallchart.

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