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Talking point

The TES asked heads about their views on Green Paper proposals for specialist schools.

Alan Silver, of The Grange School, Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, said: "The resources have to be there for schools in under-privileged areas where it is difficult to match-fund sponsorship. I have not been in favour of them, but after having Tony Blair talk about the new business schools I will be talking to my governors about the possibility of applying."

Sue Tanner is principal, of Chalfonts community college, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire. Her school was a technology college but lost specialist status in 1998 after failing to meet targets. The school is to reapply for September 2002.

She said: "It is the sharing of innovative ideas that is the real valuable part of the specialist school scheme. However, it is enormously difficult to get finanial sponsorship. Having to go around to companies asking for money is very time-consuming."

Keith Cotgrave, Bishop Barrington School in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, said: "We will press for arts college status. I'm delighted the quota has been lifted. We would have been unable to apply because our area already has 30 per cent of pupils in specialist schools. I would also be in favour of more flexibility in the curriculum. We need the means to be very creative about what we offer."

Terry Creissen OBE, is head of Colne community school, a sports college in Brightlingsea in Essex He said: "I welcome the expansion of the specialist school scheme. We think that it's great, especially the sharing of good practice. But they should immediately abandon all selection - it is completely against what a Labour government should be about."

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