Specialist schools fail to raise standards

September 07, 2007 11:36 AM

From the Telegraph today:

"Almost every comprehensive in England has been turned
into a "specialist school" - receiving thousands of pounds in extra
money every year to champion particular subjects.


Under the scheme, schools specialise in technology, art, sport, languages, business, maths or science.


But
a study by academics at Cambridge and Staffordshire universities
concludes that the schools are "no more effective than other state
schools".

This is an example of how attempts to create choice without allowing genuine freedom from political management fail.  Specialist schools are well-funded but respond to the priorities of politicians rather than parents.  To see rapid improvement thanks to new schools and the pressure they have put on existing schools to act on the priorities of parents and compete for their vouchers look to Sweden.  There school choice has been a massive success, the evidence can be seen in this paper for Reform, and remains exceptionally popular.

From the Telegraph today:

"Almost every comprehensive in England has been turned
into a "specialist school" - receiving thousands of pounds in extra
money every year to champion particular subjects.


Under the scheme, schools specialise in technology, art, sport, languages, business, maths or science.


But
a study by academics at Cambridge and Staffordshire universities
concludes that the schools are "no more effective than other state
schools".

This is an example of how attempts to create choice without allowing genuine freedom from political management fail.  Specialist schools are well-funded but respond to the priorities of politicians rather than parents.  To see rapid improvement thanks to new schools and the pressure they have put on existing schools to act on the priorities of parents and compete for their vouchers look to Sweden.  There school choice has been a massive success, the evidence can be seen in this paper for Reform, and remains exceptionally popular.

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