Better all round

30th January 2009 at 00:00

Professor Alan Smithers' research misses the point about specialist status ("Specialist schools fail to boost results in their own subjects", The TES, January 23).

Being a specialist school has improved results across the board, not just in our chosen specialism. And, as research by Professor David Jesson and others shows, specialist schools have continued to raise standards in GCSEs and deliver better value-added scores.

At Morley High, like many other specialist schools, we have used our specialism to work with other schools, the wider community and businesses, giving pupils the chance to develop new skills and knowledge that will help with their studies in a wide range of subjects. Rather than an "exclusive club", we are a national network of innovation and development from which all schools benefit.

Of course, many specialisms also spur subject improvement. So, as even Professor Smithers' report admits, science specialist schools are more than five times more likely to offer physics than other schools. Such schools are helping revive interest in GCSE and A-level science after years of decline.

John Townsley, Headteacher, Morley High, Leeds, and chair of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust's national headteacher steering group.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now