Children's attainment is measured in national tests in levels, starting with children being unleveled, through 1c, 1b, 1a, 2c, 2b, 2a, 3c, etc. Now in the past the government have expected children to make progress of two thirds of a level progress in each academic year, meaning that your typical child will be a level 4a pupil, achieving the government's target standard of level 4. This also means that children making better progress will by the age of eleven (year 6) have achieved the highest possible level of level 5. I hope that makes sense to people.
Now though, the government have decided that a progress of two sub levels per year is not good enough. Of course every teacher knows that getting children to improve as much as possible is important and I know in my experience that I have had children improve by as much as 6 sub levels (two whole levels) from a 2c to a 4c in one year, so it is not as if teachers are happy to settle for the minimum. But no, the government have now said they expect children to improve by three sub levels (three thirds or one whole level) per academic year. That's great, except that it is unachievable. Let me explain why.
From reception (Year R) to Year 6, a child will have been at school for seven years. This means that the government want children to be level 7 pupils by the time they are in year 6 (aged 11). The problem is though that level 7 is the target for a bright year 9 pupil (aged 14), and the government's own national tests only provide for the testing of pupils up to level 5. In effect a child who gets 100% on the test can only get a level 5 score, so how can they score a level 7 mark ? On top of this the text books in schools only teach up to level 5 and the government expect the curriculum taught in school to be age appropriate, so it would not be something an Ofsted inspector would want to see if they walked in to a classroom and saw a year 6 teacher teaching children a year 9 topic.
In short, the government have set an unrealistic target which is unattainable by teachers. No wonder the government don't understand why axing the 10% tax band was bad if they cannot even gives schools realistic targets.