Most schools become specialist

30th January 2004 at 00:00
More than half of England's secondary schools are now specialist colleges.

The latest round of schools to be awarded specialist status, annou-nced this week, has brought the total number up to 1,686 - 54 per cent of England's secondary schools.

The 238 additions include the country's first designated specialist music college and four humanities colleges. The new category of rural schools has yet to be applied for.

Elizabeth Reid, chief executive of the Specialist Schools Trust, said: "I am delighted that the number of specialist schools has continued to grow and with the first music and humanities specialist schools, the programme has entered a new phase with a wide range of specialisms for schools to choose."

The trust is confident that nearly all schools will be specialist by 2006.

But the largest teaching unions remain sceptical.

John Bangs, head of education at the National Union of Teachers, said he was concerned that a two-tier system of funding is being constructed between those schools which have the status and those which do not.

Specialist school status provides a one-off pound;100,000 capital grant from the Government along with annual grants of pound;126 per pupil.

Chris Keates, deputy general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: "NASUWT'sconcerns about differential levels of funding, the ability of schools to select a percentage of pupils and the real possibility of a two-tier education system continue."

The most popular choices for specialisms this time roundwere: science (54 schools); maths and computing (37); arts (32); and sport (30).

Pupils from specialist schools significantly outperformed teen-agers from non-specialist schools in the 2003 GCSEs.

A report, published earlier this month by the Specialist Schools Trust, showed that 56 per cent of pupils from specialist schools achieved five Cs or better at GCSE in 2003. This compares to 47.1 per cent of non-specialist pupils.

However, pupils at sports colleges, which had the poorest results, gained only 48 per cent.

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