The Art of using Target Setting

Click here for an overview of the training.
Click each provider’s name to see a detailed list of impact on staff.

Adult Education Wolverhampton

  • I need to change the way I have been setting targets.
  • Inspirational.
  • Feel my knowledge have been expanded.
  • Planning learning experiences not lesson planning.

Blackpool Adult Learning Service

  • Watching a favourite film which has never been remastered in colour. I can now see the screens properly.
  • A clearing through the brambles.
  • Using activities to generate targets. Thinking of a particular course, I propose to use part of the session at the start to generate aspirational targets.
  • Really helpful. Helped us to clarify target setting.
  • [I need to] Think about how to make targets more challenging – to make learners take more control of their targets.

Bolton College

  • It was like finding a beautifully grained piece of timber.
  • I will need to look more into splitting things up and thinking more from the learners point of view.

Chesterfield College

  • Bacteria to amoeba to fish to lizard to dinosaur to bird.
  • Very interested in the Emotional Learning Journey, evaluative vocabulary; will definitely look at/think about this more.
  • Loved it thank you ? You really challenge my thinking.
  • An awakening and realisation. Rollercoaster ?
  • Empowering/using the project management tool, using the ‘colour’ code method. Enjoyed the session!

City College Peterborough

  • Previously missing the target but now hitting bulls eye.
  • Writing targets which the learner understands and being appropriate to the individual; being able to coach learners with their aspirations; completing initial diagnostics over a period of weeks rather than at the very beginning which might result in poor data.
  • The main thing I will take away is when you mentioned about not stealing provenance by leading learners to do what the tutor wants them to do just because they’re passionate about their own subject.

Coleg Cambria

  • Blinkers – removed.
  • Re-ignition.
  • Tunnel – Light!
  • Thought provoking ideas on how the learner is taking charge of their learning.
  • [I need] More emphasis on aspirations.
  • Innovation, and looking from the students’ view/experience.

Derby Adult Learning

  • This session challenged existing thinking and helped reshape a new and more effective way of thinking that is more inclusive and makes a difference.
  • Introduce a more ‘project management’ method of target setting, to help learners develop key study skills and focus/drive motivation.
  • Many thanks for another excellent and insightful session. You are motivational and able to help provide ‘meerkat moments’ to us as ‘learners’ in your sessions in an active and engaging way. You provide an environment in which I feel comfortable to contribute and receive constructive feedback to contributions, to help challenge pre-conceived ideas and pedagogy for the better.

Derby College

  • Motivating, exciting and engaged.
  • Consider target setting for student value, work in collaboration with the student to devise, personal, motivating targets that align with aspiration and progress.
  • It was brilliant, a great balance of input and interaction.
  • I want to explore Blendspace. A thoroughly enjoyed session, Many thanks.

East Coast College

  • It helped me find the kernel of target setting via links to destinations and differentiation.
  • Thank you this was a great session very inspiring.
  • Although the dog wags the tail, at times the dog should follow it’s nose to where the tail is happier.
  • Insightful.
    Thinking about targets/destinations/future changed selves/project management as a normal way of working from the start. A lot of key phrases that will help e.g. linking curiosity to homework.
  • It has helped me better understand the use of language and trigger words/phrases I will now refrain from or increase use of.
  • I am going to use the project management as a tool with my tutorials. We will use this to help commence the individual tutorials so they remain person-centred being conscious not to make it purely academic but holistic.
  • This can be embedded into everyday classes without the need to create separate targets that are restrictive.


  • Progression in the law of the mind. Aspirations become a staff of power to mount dreams on.
  • The sun came through the clouds
  • Enjoyable subject which was not expected.
  • I would focus on aspirational target setting.
  • Enjoyed the session. Clearly some of it new to me in the way of concepts but it gave me some fresh ways of looking at my in-work coaching role for learners.

Hopwood Hall College

  • Broke the stereotype of SMART targets
  • It made me seriously consider how I set targets and has massively encouraged me to hand the mantle over to the learner so they become more enthusiastic about targets. I also loved the idea of target setting to solve an issue rather than concentrating on the symptom.
  • The journey to the centre of the Earth.
  • Encompassing.
  • It has been a really great experience and has given me a lot of new knowledge to bring into my role in September.

Hull College

  • The cogs have started to turn!
  • Thank you I intend to use ‘project management’ instead of SMART and will start to input this into my Schemes of Work.

Inspire College

  • Extremely important and engaging.
  • Great target setting will allow for the person to bloom into a beautiful flower.
  • Like opening a small door from a dark room into a space flooded with a rainbow.
  • The session was inspirational. I will be using the resources to further understand how to use this in my context.
  • Amazing training session, Thank you. I feel energised and inspired.

JTL Training

  • Like opening an old book and realising you never really understood what it meant.
  • A bullseye shot into target setting.
  • Music to my ears.
  • Today’s session was inspirational, using ‘real’ examples, good practice and a detailed knowledge of the education landscape.

Lincoln College International

  • Good to be reminded that we should differentiate the support and teaching strategies and not the expectations.
  • What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as who you become when you achieve them – love this. Qualitative over quantitative.
  • This session helped me looking into target setting differently. I am excited to go back to work while using this method.

Liverpool Adult Learning Service

  • It’s soooooo interesting, enjoyable and engaging. Loved it.
  • Learning to dance – aspiring to do it backwards and in high heels.
  • How to scaffold the learners when they set their own targets. The vital importance of aspirations!
  • The exercise for learners’ target setting makes it more interactive and an enjoyable task rather than a chore.
  • The session has broadened my outlook to making my classes more efficient leading to better work.
  • A perfect balance between the stuff you do and the difference you make.
  • I have had a ‘Eureka’ moment! Forget the straight-jacket of normal target setting and view the course as ‘Project Management’!

Northern Trains Ltd

  • Great refresh on communication skills from coaching session.
  • Will start to embed aspirations more within reviews.
  • The sun kept shining all day. I enjoyed the day and felt engaged and interested throughout.
  • Excellent. Enjoyed the session.

Nottingham College

  • The session has been music to my ears! I cannot wait to feedback to the departments I work with, as I know they will really be able to grasp these concepts and break away from the stagnant boxes!
  • The delivery was clear and the host used excellent tools in order for the concepts of mastery, expert, and ambitious goals to become “alive”.
  • I have taken away some useful information that will help support my teams in the development of their learners’ journey to become reflective, self-aware, and independent! Thank you!

NPTC Consortium of Work-based Providers

  • Today was like filling in the gaps of a puzzle. I have all the edge pieces put together but today helped me complete the middle.
  • I feel like the passion for helping others learn has been re-awoken in me. I always set targets with the learner not for the learner but will definitely put more of today’s learning into the target setting process.
  • Go back to the drawing board. Go back to basics, my metaphor really means go back to the beginning of my own learning journey of becoming an assessor and use the skills I learned and have maybe been forgotten as we get too tied up in meeting contractual obligations rather than listening to our learners.
  • Excellent Session as always, perfect to getting us all to think of how important the targets are to each learners aspirations, real eye opener and good to reintroduce learner led targets, thank you.

NPTC Group of Colleges

  • Looking in a mirror and realising how ridiculous you look.
  • I have always felt that Target setting has baffled me and therefore been unable to support my learners in a way they’ve needed. I now feel I can grasp the target setting and pass it on to the learners for them to develop the skills.
  • As a result of this session, I appreciate so much more the art of target setting. I always knew it took time and expertise, but I’ll change my approach to make sure those aspirations are made clear up front.

Reaseheath College

  • I genuinely believe this is the best session I have ever done on targets.
  • A game-changing mindset.
  • It helped me understand that there are ways of differentiating to get the same outcome. I will be doing more research in to how to change the tutorial set up and incorporate the target setting in to this process rather than it being a separate discussion. No longer call the targets SMART targets and work with Quality and Learning to change the wording on Promonior.
  • I have really enjoyed this session. It is the most informative and engaging CPD I have done for a long time. Thank you Tony.

RNN College Group

  • Inspirational, thought-provoking.
  • I will share with colleagues in the hope to move away from the restrictions of SMART as an organisation, in the interim, as organisational change does not happen quickly, I plan to use the information gained from today in my own teaching sessions, linking to reflection and personal development which are key processes for my students to embrace.
  • I think I will have a go at some changes, do some deeper reading, and revisit the training again in the future to refresh.

Sefton Community Learning Service

  • I no longer teach as I have moved into management many years ago. I want to teach again after today’s session.
  • Worth every minute. Inspirational.
  • The matching game makes you really think, which is good.
  • Absolutely great lesson, provided clarity and very concise ides.
  • He is a brainbox.


  • I read previous feedback from other providers – Sunshine through rain clouds. A light switched on. Cannot say more than that.
  • I think as part of our quality review look at how we set targets, do we currently set targets? Probably not. After today though there are so many ideas in which we can get our learners engaged and for them to take control of their own aspirations.
  • Unexpected. I was expecting to learn about how to set SMART targets well and the benefits of this, however it was totally the opposite about SMART. It was a very good session. Lots of opportunity for interaction and good use of various technology methods.

St Helens Adult & Community Learning

  • Playing a game of Rugby and suddenly being told that you can pass the ball in any direction.
  • What we think we are asking isn’t always what people hear us ask. Today has once again helped me hold up a mirror and encouraged me to resist the urge to ‘feedback’, however nicely it is couched.
  • Really enjoyed it the session as always. Have never walked away empty handed (or headed?).

St Helens & Knowsley College

  • Inspirational methods alternative thinking.
  • Engaging tasks, informative content, and great links to the art of teaching.
  • Thank you for opening the path to good practice, we just need to walk down it now.
  • Like pressing the reset button on the principles of target setting.
  • I will work with senior managers to review and re-write our traget setting strategy.
  • We need to move away from ticking procedural boxes to igniting purpose and ambition by empowering learners to be their own project managers.


  • Learning is like building a house (one step at a time when setting targets).
  • Excellent session and very comfortable environment set by Tony.
  • More emphasis on learners setting targets.
  • Supporting students to discuss, define and formulate their own targets (mini project managers). Direct and meaningful involvement should lead to greater ownership and hopefully progress.
  • Reinforcing the importance of motivating students and giving them realistic steps to achieve their goals.

The Oxford Partnership (Saudi Arabia)

  • It was an amazing session!!
  • It has given me a more clear picture for target setting and I would plan this in the Individual Learning Plans of my trainees where they will be filling in details and setting targets for themselves which would be then reviewed regularly to see where they have reached. Definitely, not all will be on the same page, so, I would have one-on-one sessions to help them to get back on track again.
  • It was perfect, especially the target setting skill builder which I’m going to use with my trainees in the future. I would like to have some training sessions on online teaching or how to make it more interactive and engaging.

University College Isle of Man

  • It opened doors to a whole new learning experience for me.
  • From the interactive way the session was structured, to the delivery, case studies and most importantly the topic, I am walking away with new questions, notes and actions.
  • I will be looking into implementing the learning outcome in my own teaching as well as working with lecturers and colleagues at the college. Thank you for a highly interactive session.

Warrington & Vale Royal College

  • One size doesn’t fit all Stop reinventing the wheel.
  • There is light at the end of the tunnel – clearer focus on the learner journey.
  • An explorer navigating unknown lands, but familiar territory.
  • Really rewarding to see what we do is on the right tracks.

Weston College

  • My learning journey today was like the sun starting to shine on a cloudy day.
  • Review induction period and how we support learners in their target writing, really focusing on the Project Management. Review staff development and target writing focus – taking away SMART but bringing in aspiration and progression.
  • Really got me thinking, thank you. Really enjoyed the Wiki resource and Desmos too. I will take those away to share with colleagues. I am now going to watch/read the other resources shared. Also a very professional, smooth and informative training afternoon thank you.

Wirral Council Lifelong Learning Service

  • Eye opening. Refocusing – on what matters and what we’re actually here for.
  • I’m working with one tutor to implement the design cycle – which came out of discussions we were having re aims of curriculum. This training has given me the confidence and impetus to develop and push this approach through to a much broader set of tutors and curriculum areas.

Wirral Metropolitan College

  • Eye opening. Think more about how student feels. Great session thanks.
  • Build in critical thinking skills early on to allow learners to write own targets.
  • Today has helped clear some of the fog of the administrative airspace.

Yew Chung Education Foundation

  • Like cracking a code.
  • It has made me more aware of why students find target setting so difficult and how I can further help teachers to support the target setting/achievement process. It has also given me some ideas on how to approach target setting for our teachers, particularly those unqualified.


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