Specialist schools

14th April 2000 at 01:00
One possible source of ICT funding is through the Government's Technology and Language Specialist Schools Programme. Schools which achieve Specialist School or Technology College status receive a pound;100,000 sterling capital grant as well as pound;120 per pupil per year, initially for four years.

In January, there were 480 specialist schools, with 86 per cent of all LEAs in England having at least one specialist school. The Government aims to have at least 500 specialist schools by this September and at least 800 by September 2003.

All maintained secondary schools can apply to become a specialist school, but they must consult with their LEA, prepare a four-year development plan, and involve other schools and the wider community. Schools must also raise pound;50,000 sponsorship.

Some schools are fortunate in obtaining sponsorship. The network company 3Com, for example, has helped Thomas Telford College in the Midlands, J F Kennedy school in Hemel Hempstead, and Rainford High School near St Helens, to become specialist schools. Sponsorship often takes the form of funding andor equipment donation. But Nigel Paine, chief executive of the Technology Colleges Trust (TCTrust) admits: "It's difficultto get money from suppliers for matched sponsorship." However, schools are using many alternative - and effective - strategies to make savings or raise funds. He adds: "Trusts are still very generous, and there are other ways, such as getting parents to sponsor individual machines, or setting-up a PTA training room."

Some observers are sceptical about sponsorship, pointing out that some sponsors subsequently do a great deal of business with their "beneficiaries", although the rules regarding educational supplier companies sponsoring schools have changed over the past six months. DFEE rules now state that educational suppliers (companies that could benefit economically or commercially from an association with a school) can only provide sponsorship indirectly through a third party.

Paine explains the rules change: "A few suppliers were attaching strings to their sponsorship, such as 'We'll pay you pound;10,000 if you do pound;20,000 of business with us.' I should stress that none of the major educational suppliers resorted to this. I hope companies like RM will renew their sponsorship programmes." (RM has provided over pound;2.5 million over five years to more than 100 specialist schools.).

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