Eleven secondary schools in Essex have been awarded specialist status by the government.
Ministers want all secondary schools to specialise
School Standards Minister, David Miliband, confirmed the successful applicants on Tuesday.
Schools bidding for specialist status have to raise £50,000 in sponsorship and put together a four-year development plan for raising standards in all subjects.
Successful applicants receive a grant of £100,000 plus an extra £123 per pupil per year.
They can also select up to 10% of their pupils by "aptitude" for their specialist subject.
The Essex contingent is part of the largest round of specialist awards so far, with 245 schools nationally due to take up their new status in September.
New specialist schools
Burnt Mill School
Cornelius Vermuyden School
Shenfield High School
Chelmer Valley High School
Newport Free Grammar
Castle View School
Mayflower High School
Sweyne Park School
St John Payne Comprehensive
Mr Miliband said: "We are replacing the old one-size-fits-all system with tailor made learning, built around the talents and needs of every child, to ensure that every child will get the individual attention they need and deserve.
"Specialist schools are central to this radical reform."
The minister also announced the first 103 schools to take part in Leading Edge Partnerships.
These involve a number of schools who have agreed to work together to raise standards by sharing practice and developing new and different approaches to teaching and learning.
Three schools in Essex - Philip Morant School, Saffron Walden County High School and King Edward VI Grammar School - have been chosen for the Leading Edge scheme.