The National Union of Teachers believes ministers should instead look at making specialist arts, music, language, technology or business facilities available for pupils from several schools in an area.
The NUT also wants all secondaries to be funded at the level of the specialist schools, a move it admits will cost the Government an extra pound;424 million. The proposas are contained in the NUT's response to the Government's recent Green Paper, which set out plans to create 1,500 specialist schools by 2006.
John Bangs, NUT assistant secretary, said: "There's an argument for providing specialist provision for pupils, but on a basis where schools co-operate, rather than compete with each other. What we are seeking is a level playing field for schools, rather than the divisive, two-tier system which the Government would create."