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Friday, 28 September, 2001, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
Exams boost for specialist schools
boy at whiteboard
Exam results at specialist schools in England are 10% higher than at ordinary comprehensives, according to provisional figures.

A study of more than 500 specialist schools found that 54% of GCSE students achieved five or more exam passes between the grades of A and C.

Among ordinary comprehensives, the average number of pupils achieving that level of attainment is 44%.

Teaching unions argue that the improved results are largely due to the extra money that goes towards schools with specialist status.

Standards

The results support the government's view that specialist schools raise standards.

Ministers wants the number of specialist schools to rise from the present level of 685 to 1,500 by 2005.

If that target is reached, about half of England's state secondary schools will be specialist schools.

The statistics are from the Technology Colleges Trust, which manages the specialist schools programme for the government.

For the first time, they include results from specialist schools in deprived areas which come under the government's Excellence in Cities programme.


These are wonderful results for state schools, many of whom are situated in highly disadvantaged inner city areas

Sir Cyril Taylor, Technology Colleges Trust
The Chairman of the Technology Colleges Trust, Sir Cyril Taylor, said: "These are wonderful results for state schools, many of whom are situated in highly disadvantaged inner city areas.

Sir Cyril said the trust would aim to get the most successful schools to help others seeking to get specialist status.

Teaching unions have said the results at specialist schools show a link between resources and achievements and have called for all schools to have more money.

John Dunford, the general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association said: "The link must be recognised between the additional funding for specialist schools and improved exam results.

"This must be extended to all secondary schools as soon as possible to avoid the creation of a two-tier system."

Specialist schools receive an extra 123 per pupil per year, plus a capital grant of 50,000 which they have to match with sponsorship.

Schools can specialise in a range of areas - arts, languages, technology, sport, engineering, science, business and maths and computing.

See also:

05 Sep 01 | Education
Big changes for secondary schools
05 Sep 01 | Education
More specialists
17 Jul 01 | Education
Specialist schools 'boost confidence'
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