Specialist Schools Set High Standards

The Birmingham Post (England), September 20, 2001 | Go to article overview

Specialist Schools Set High Standards


Byline: Richard Warburton

Education Secretary Estelle Morris will today place specialist schools at the forefront of Government reforms when she consults Midland headteachers on the future of secondary education.

Ms Morris highlights Birmingham's Selly Park Technology College as a glowing example of how specialist status can improve standards.

Praise for the all-girl school comes as the MP for Birmingham Yardley and her Ministers prepare to carry out a series of debates with teachers across the country to ask their views on the White Paper on education.

Speaking before the first of the debates at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull today, Ms Morris told The Post variation among schools will raise standards.

'This Government wants to make sure that each school is unique and we will be speeding up the pace of change. Schools needn't all be the same,' she said.

'Specialist schools like Selly Park Technology College choose to specialise in technology - others choose modern foreign languages, business, arts or sport and are supported with Government funding. They gain better results and have more challenging goals to reach.

'At Selly Park, the percentage of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs at A*-C has increased from 42 per cent in 1996 to 62 per cent in 2000.

'Specialist schools also share their expertise with other schools and the local community. There can be no question of creating a two-tier system.

'I want all schools to be able to use the good ideas of their staff, with the best and most innovative ideas shared more easily. I want schools to be able to learn from each other more effectively. …

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