While 51 schools are celebrating their elevation to specialist status, please spare a thought for the much larger number which were not chosen. As a veteran of three unsuccessful bids I have spent more hours than I care to think of fine-tuning our submission and trying to make sense of the guidelines, which seem to change with every new round. If all the other unsuccessful institutions devoted as much time and energy as my colleagues and I, the country-wide expenditure of futile effort has been colossal.
To call the Department for Education and Employment feedback on our previous bids inadequate would be an act of extreme charity. I hope that things will improve this time, but I am bracing myself for further disappointment. I also suspect that the latest version of the guidelines will arrive in the middle of the summer holidays, so that we can run ourselves ragged again to meet the October deadline.
We keep on trying because we are already doing so much in our chosen specialism; we want to do more, but we need a little help. We are ready and able to offer specialist provision, but why do we and other schools have to go through this Byzantine application process to do it?
SC Parsons 17 Highfield Road Chipping Sodbury South Gloucestershire