Your specialist sums don't add up

14th February 2003 at 00:00
LAST week's TES reported that "only a tiny fraction of secondary schools praised by the chief inspector this (last) week had specialist status" ("Specialists prove less than outstanding", TES, February 7).

This is untrue. Thirty-eight of the 83 schools listed as receiving outstanding inspection reports have specialist status. This is nearly half the total - 46 per cent to be precise. Hardly a "tiny fraction".

Moreover, this is more than twice the proportion of specialist schools in operation last summer (21 per cent of all secondaries).

Of the 38 specialist schools listed as receiving outstanding inspection reports, a considerable number are in areas of social disadvantage with a much higher number of pupils eligible for free school meals than the national average, yet they achieved excellent GCSE results.

Particularly outstanding schools in this category include: The St Marylebone C of E school, Westminster (93 per cent of pupils gained five or more GCSE grades A*-C); Seven Kings high, Ilford (80); Small Heath, Birmingham (56); Harton, South Shields, Tyneside (50); Cardinal Heenan Catholic high, Leeds (49); Langdon, Newham (41); Shireland language college, Smethwick (51).

Sir Cyril Taylor

Specialist Schools Trust

37 Queen's Gate, London

Editor's note: Only four schools on the list were identified as specialist.

We asked the trust to comment on this but it declined.

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