A north London borough has found an imaginative way to avoid a two-tier system of specialists and non-specialists: every secondary in Harrow has applied for a change of status .
The move has been made possible by the lifting of the cap on the number of specialists allowed in a single local education authority. All 10 high schools in Harrow have made a collective bid for specialist status helped by council officials.
As well as avoiding a hierarchy of schools, the joint bid aims to ensure a spread of specialisms across the borough. Five have been successful. Hatch End and Nower Hill schools have together become an arts college, while Harrow high is a sports college, supported by Bentley Wood school and the private Harrow school .
Canons and Park high schools this September became a joint technology college. Meanwhile, the Catholic Sacred Heart and Salvatorian schools are working on a bid for language status.
Canons and Park have appointed four advanced skills teachers covering technology, science and maths, who are working across the borough with middle and other high schools. Bruce Goddard, Canons' head, said: "We don't see each other as competitors, we work alongside each other."