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Like several other words currently used in education – for example, ‘target’ – ‘strategy’ has a military origin, meaning the movements and operations of a campaign. It also meant the plan for what was hoped to be a successful military action. In education generally, it carries the meaning of a long-term plan, the ‘big picture’, but the word is often used pretentiously. To be ‘strategic’ is a compliment used of someone who is, or is aspiring to be, a senior manager (he or she is obviously able to produce numerous action plans).

There are specific strategies, of which the most important is the National Strategy. This began in 1998 with the Primary Literacy Strategy, closely followed by the Primary Numeracy Strategy. These required staff to ...

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