Specialist status attacked

29th December 2000 at 00:00
Every secondary school should be allowed to enjoy the benefits of specialist status, the Secondary Heads Association is set to tell ministers next week.

The "two-tier" system that gives technology colleges and other specialist schools an extra pound;123 per pupil must end, the association's general secretary John Dunford will say.

Mr Dunford will launch his proposals on the eve of the North of England conference for local government, where a year ago Education Secretary David Blunkett announced an expansion of the scheme. The Government wants 1,000 specialist colleges, out of 4,500 secondaries, by 2004.

Ministers have pinted to specialists' better exam results but critics claim this is due to extra funding. They get a pound;100,000 grant and an extra pound;123 per pupil per year, initially for four years, if the schools can raise pound;50,000 in private sponsorship.

New limits banning applications from areas where 30 per cent of pupils or more are at specialist school must also be scrapped, Mr Dunford is expected to say.

At the North of England conference in Bridlington next week councils will protest at greater delegation of their budgets. The Government wants 90 per cent of council schools budgets to be passed on to to heads by 2003-4.

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