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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Meg secures pledge for Sheffield Specialist Schools

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Meg Munn, Labour and Co-operative Party MP for Sheffield Heeley has welcomed a Government pledge on Specialist Schools.

Meg asked Charles Clarke, Secretary of State for Education in the House of Commons today "What plans he has to allow more schools to obtain specialist status".

She asked the question because having seen some specialist schools, both in Birmingham as part of her Education and Skills Select Committee work, and locally here in Sheffield, she believes that they bring an energy and enthusiasm to the school system, and seem to be an improvement, "I want more schools to have that opportunity."

In response, Charles Clarke announced an extension to the specialist school programme, lifting the cap on the number of schools who could gain specialist status - meaning that over the next few years all schools have the possibility of achieving specialist status. He also announced extra money to help schools who struggle to raise the £50,000 needed as their contribution to the programme. He congratulated Chief Ed. Officer for Sheffield who has a plan to support all 27 schools in Sheffield to achieve specialist status by 2006 (currently 10 out of the 27 have specialist status). 

In her supplementary question, Meg asked what help was available to schools who are initially turned down to help them achieve the requirements to become a specialist school as this can be very demoralising for schools who are often already struggling with difficult circumstances.
Charles Clarke said that help and support would be available through the local education authority.

Meg said later "I am delighted with the announcement of this extension to the specialist school programme, giving all schools an opportunity to gain this status. This is essentially a programme aimed at improving schools and both the injection of additional resources and the distinctive ethos of the specialist schools are a significant spur to school improvement. I have seen at Meadowhead School in my constituency how gaining specialist language status has enthused the staff and pupils. I recently hosted a group of pupils from China at the House of Commons with pupils from Meadowhead School, just one of the examples of the activities it is now involved in as a specialist school."


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