Cash boost for 'special' schools

SCHOOLS across Suffolk were today looking forward to a massive cash injection after hearing their bids for specialist status were successful.Five secondary schools with a total of about 4,100 pupils are expected to receive an estimated £2.

SCHOOLS across Suffolk were today looking forward to a massive cash injection after hearing their bids for specialist status were successful.

Five secondary schools with a total of about 4,100 pupils are expected to receive an estimated £2.5million extra funding to improve resources.

Today's announcement also means that Suffolk has its first specialist schools in humanities and business and enterprise.

Moira Jackson, education communications manger for Suffolk County Council said 28 of the county's 38 secondary schools now enjoyed specialist status.


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"We are getting closer towards all of them having specialist status. The schools get a one off grant of £100,000 and then £129 per student over the next four years.

"It is extra funding to develop the school's speciality."

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The news coincides with government announcement that a further 268 schools nationally received specialist status. There are now 1,954 specialist schools teaching 2.1 million pupils in the UK.

Felixstowe's Orwell High School won technology college status allowing them to boast design and technology, maths and science as a speciality.

Catherine Wiltshire, headteacher at Orwell High, said: "It is excellent news.

"We are delighted that technology status, coupled with the Sportsmark and Artsmark awards we have already received, means we are able to offer our students a very wide ranging and very high quality experience".

Peter Tomkins is due to take over the headteacher position at the school in September.

He said: "The benefits of being a technology college aren't only the extra resources we are able to provide for students.

"This is one piece in a larger jigsaw expanding our involvement with the community and finding exciting and challenging ways to stimulate and motivate our students."

Stowupland High School has been designated a mathematics and computing college.

Headteacher Peter Richards said: "A great deal of planning and hard work by a large number of people has gone towards achieving this.

"It will make a big difference to all the schools involved and to the community in this part of mid-Suffolk."

Beth Soule, headteacher at Claydon High, today spoke of her delight at securing specialist humanities status for the school.

She said: "It's fantastic news for us. It means greater resources for the English, geography and history departments. It will also enable us to offer new courses and opportunities for other groups in the community."

She added some of the funds will be spent on creating a new community website, while also refurbishing parts of the school and buying new equipment.

Stoke High School in Ipswich also won technology college status.

And The Denes High School in Lowestoft gained specialist status in business and enterprise-the first of its kind in Suffolk.

Tony Lewis of Suffolk County Council's executive committee said: "The standards to acquire specialist status are extremely high.

"I would like to congratulate these schools, and the communities and businesses that have supported their work."

A programme of refurbishment and development will start at the schools over the following few months, providing state-of-the-art classrooms and putting them at the leading edge of their subjects.

Feeding primary and middle schools are also set to benefit as the cash enables the high schools to concentrate on the community.

Mr Clarke said: "The facts speak for themselves - specialist schools do

better than other schools.

"Specialist schools are a mass movement to raise standards in every school

delivering better results for every single pupil."

The Education Secretary said the average performance at GCSE level in specialist schools last year was 7.5 percentage points higher than in non-specialist schools.

Mr Clarke added: "Each school is encouraged to develop their own ethos and a clear sense of responsibility for shaping its own future.

"I am delighted that today's figures show we are moving faster towards our target of all schools becoming specialist."

What do you think of the schools gaining specialist status? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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