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Specialist Schools: Standards

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 24 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the evidential basis is for his statement on 10 July 2007 that specialist schools are driving up standards across the country. (149938)

The evidence shows that specialist status is linked to higher results at GCSE whether this is on the 5+A*-C measure, VA or CVA. Some of the main research reports are:

A Study of the Specialist Schools Programme, Institute of Education, university of Warwick, 2004

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Specialist Schools1 Levacic and Jenkins, Centre for Economics of Education, London School of Economics (2004).

Specialist Schools—What do we know?, Frances Castle and Jennifer Evans, Research and Information on State Education, (RISE) 2006

The Impact of the Specialist Schools Programme on exam results, Jim Taylor, Working Paper 2007/007, Lancaster university management school, London School of Economics, 2007

Specialist Schools: An Evaluation of Progress and Specialist Schools: a second evaluation 2001 and 2005

The main findings of Ofsted’s second evaluation include

“Being a specialist school makes a difference. Working to declared targets, dynamic leadership by key players, a renewed sense of purpose, the willingness to be a pathfinder, targeted used of funding and being part of an optimistic network of like-minded schools all contribute to an impetus and climate for improvement.”