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Specialist proposals under fire

HEADTEACHERS want to set up a new category of "research" schools rather than the further refinements of the specialist sector that ministers propose. The Secondary Heads' Association says that successful schools should be able to apply for the research title whether or not they are one of the 536 specialising in sport, technology, arts or languages.

The proposal comes in its response to the Government's education Green Paper "Schools: Building on Success". SHA says it would be wrong for ministers to limit proposals for "advanced specialist schools" to those that already have secialist status. Such "advanced specialist" schools would get extra capital funding in return for innovative ideas and teacher and leadership training.

The alternative research schools should have special links with the National College for School Leadership, adds the SHA document.

It opposes selection by specialist schools and warns ministers that their promotion of diversity between schools via specialisms, new city academies, and more denominational establishments risks creating an "unwelcome hierarchy" of schools in each area.

Research on selection, 16

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