More schools attain specialist status

Nearly 2,000 secondary schools have now attained specialist status following the largest round of designations yet.

Specialist status allows a school to extend the range of opportunities available to students which best meet their needs and interests. Exam results show that specialist schools do better on average than non-specialists - in 2003, 56.7% of pupils in specialist schools achieved five good grades at GCSE compared to 49.2% in non-specialists - a difference of 7.5 percentage points.

The last round saw 268 schools successfully gain specialist status in the 10 subject specialisms. This means that 62% of all secondary schools and 2.1 million pupils are now part of a programme promoting and delivering school improvement.

Welcoming the further expansion of the specialist programme Secretary of State for Education and Skills Charles Clarke said: "The facts speak for themselves - specialists schools do better than other schools.

"Specialists schools are a mass movement to raise standards in every school delivering better results for every single pupil.

"Each school is encouraged to develop their own ethos and a clear sense of responsibility for shaping its own future and I am delighted that today's figures show we are moving faster towards our target of all schools becoming specialist."

Sir Cyril Taylor Chair of the Specialist Schools Trust said: "We are delighted that so many specialist school bids were successful. This unique partnership of private sector sponsorship in support of state schools is transforming secondary education in England."

A total of 1,954 schools have been awarded specialist status after the March bidding round. They include specialisms in arts, business & enterprise, engineering, humanities, language, maths & computing, music, science, sports, and technology.


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