Specialist status snobbery

22nd July 2005 at 01:00
We wish to challenge an article in the 2005 spring edition of the Specialist Schools TrustNews by Sir Cyril Taylor, the trust's chairman, in which he disparages schools that have not applied for specialist school status.

In September 2001, the governors of Poole high school debated the possibility of applying for specialist status. They decided to consult the staff.

In November 2001, they agreed unanimously to support the staff consensus that "for a comprehensive school serving all in our local community and aiming to broaden students' horizons, specialist status would limit rather than enhance the education we provide".

Sir Cyril writes that most of the schools which have yet to decide to bid for specialist status are "under-performing schools in a socially disadvantaged area of the country".

Poole high school is an oversubscribed, successful foundation comprehensive school. In 2004, our 150 more able key stage 4 students, with five or more A*-C grades, achieved a value-added score of 1022.8, compared with 1021.0 for grammar schools nationally.

Clearly, parents see us as a popular and effective school in the town which also has four specialist-status, non-selective secondary schools.

Sir Cyril says he wishes to promote parental choice, but seems, like the original Ford car, to offer any colour you choose, as long as it is black!

Michael Beesley Deputy head Poole high school Harbin Campus Wimborne Road Poole Dorset

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today