Specialist pecking order

19th December 2003 at 00:00
Sir Cyril Taylor, chair of the Specialist Schools Trust, may "rail" against criticism of the specialist schools initiative (TES, November 28 and December 5), but the points remain unanswered: the initiative has not been used strategically to benefit the most disadvantaged schools and communities; and, until now, specialist schools have not been systematically required to help lift standards in neighbouring secondary schools.

That such collaboration is now to be a feature of the system is welcome, as is news of the arrangements to meet the needs of individual learners through opening access to facilities in groups of schools - though this should not simply be a matter for the schools alone to determine.

However, the"pecking order" will continue to work against the most disadvantaged schools unless the granting of specialist status to the schools yet to receive it is undertaken in a manner which addresses the issue.

Martin Rogers The Education Network 22 Upper Woburn Place London WC1

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