Leading article: Not so special

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The Independent Online

Any parent who has sent their child to a specialist school believing that it is the best choice for budding linguists, musicians and dramatists, must be alarmed by the Ofsted assessment of the specialist programme published yesterday.

Any parent who has sent their child to a specialist school believing that it is the best choice for budding linguists, musicians and dramatists, must be alarmed by the Ofsted assessment of the specialist programme published yesterday. Language results in language colleges are getting worse. Meanwhile, arts colleges are not the best places to study drama and music and GCSE results are falling. Yes, as a whole, specialist schools are improving faster than the national average. But fewer than half of specialist schools are meeting their targets for GCSE grades in their specialist subjects.

The Government is determined to press on with its pledge that every school will be specialist. But specialist status is no guarantee of excellence. Parents, teachers and politicians would be wise to remember that.

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