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Specialist schools: an exploration of competition and co-operation

Bell, Kate and West, Anne ORCID: 0000-0003-2932-7667 (2003) Specialist schools: an exploration of competition and co-operation. Educational Studies, 29 (2/3). pp. 273-289. ISSN 0305-5698

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Identification Number: 10.1080/03055690303274


This paper examines the specialist schools programme in England and, in particular, the issue of co-operation between specialist and non-specialist secondary schools. It explores the policy and how it has evolved over time, before examining literature relating to specialist schools, segregation and achievement. A small-scale research study, which involved interviews with officials at national and local levels, and in specialist schools, and a survey of non-specialist schools is described and results analysed. Although the specialist schools programme appears to have facilitated co-operation between schools, there are some major barriers that need to be overcome. One of the most significant is the competitive environment in which schools in England operate. Notwithstanding this barrier, the research suggests that other initiatives covering local education authority areas such as 'Excellence in Cities' and 'Diversity Pathfinders' might serve to foster co-operation between schools, although it is argued that school autonomy is unlikely to be the most productive way to foster co-operation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2003 Taylor and Francis Group
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2008 11:16
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2024 08:13

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