THE Government is to invest Pounds 3.75 million on expanding its network of beacon schools from 75 to 200 from next September.
The 125 new schools identified as centres of excellence will be expected to disseminate good practice to their neighbours, in return for around Pounds 30,000 more a year. The first beacon schools started work this September.
Education Secretary David Blunkett said "encouraging" progress was being made by the beacons. They include Carwarden House special school in Surrey, which is sharing its special needs expertise with mainstream schools, and Knowle Church of England primary in Solihull, which is sharing accelerated learning techniques.
Schools will be invited to apply next spring. They will have to show that the extra funding is being used to promote good practice, and provide an annual report of their activities.
Education authorities will be asked to show how the activities of beacon schools contribute to their education development plans.