Policy has a special place in our hearts

4th March 2005 at 00:00
Specialist schools have emerged as one of teachers' favourite initiatives.

And nowhere is enthusiasm for them stronger than at Coundon Court school, a comprehensive set in leafy grounds on the outskirts of Coventry.

The 1,755-pupil school counts ex-minister Mo Mowlam among its alumni and is in the constituency of Geoffrey Robinson, Labour's former paymaster general, who has a majority of more than 10,000.

It became a technology college in 1997 and now has sub-specialisms in maths, science, design and technology and information and communications technology.

Jeff Sewell, head of maths, believes that specialism-related programmes, such as an 8am maths lesson, has helped boost the proportion of pupils getting C or better in maths from 40 to 60 per cent.

But staff are sceptical about initiatives such as turning more secondaries into foundation schools.

John Vickers, the headteacher, said: "We're not sure what we would gain from owning the school or having to manage our admissions."

Staff are equally unconvinced about proposals to get more private companies to sponsor academies.

"I wouldn't want to have to wear a T-shirt with 'Ford cars' written across it," Mr Sewell said.

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