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For advice and support schools should contact the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (Tel: 020 7802 2377 email or the Youth Sport Trust School Support Unit (Tel: 01509 226600 or email: SchoolSupportUnit@

Specialist Schools Guidance 2008

We have now published and updated the Specialist Schools Guidance for 2008. Schools will wish to be aware of contained updates on Diplomas and whole school target setting requirements detailed in Part 1 of the guidance.   Re-designation and initial applications will also now reflect the introduction of the National Challenge and details are contained in Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. The HPSS 2008 criteria (previously detailed on this page), the strategic role of all HPSS and the priority specialisms for 2008 are now contained in Part 5 of the guidance.

We would encourage all schools that have yet to be re-designated under the new system to have regard to the details in this guidance. To access the 2008 guidance please use the tab on the left hand side of this page.

What are Specialist Schools?

An introduction to the aims and background of the Specialist Schools Programme, and an outline of the characteristics specific to each of the ten specialisms. What are Specialist Schools?

High Performing Specialist Schools (HPSS) will form a crucial contribution to supporting the Children's Plan as outlined in Part 1 of this guidance. HPSS will have the responsibility of taking a more strategic community wide role using 50% of their HPSS funding to work with partners including the LA to disseminate effective practice in the school's new role.

In Spring 2007, the Department for Children Schools and Families commissioned
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP to evaluate the impact of HPSS. The overarching aim of the evaluation is to further the evidence base of specific specialist schools policy strands, and to provide guidance, including examples of good practice, for all specialist schools, including those with a SEN specialism.

The interim report has just been published and can be accessed by following the link below:

HPSS Interim Evaluation Report (PDF 1.4 MB)

For an alphabetical list of all 2892 specialist schools please click here (Excel 871 KB).

For a list of all specialist schools by Goverment Office please click here (Excel 910 KB).

For a list of all SEN schools in the Programme please click here (Excel 38 KB).

For a list of all High Performing Specialist schools as at 01/04/08 please click here (Excel 104 KB).

Last update 01/07/08

Capital Grant Offer for Re-designating Specialist Schools

From September 2008, specialist schools that have successfully re-designated since September 2007 will have the opportunity to access a £25k capital fund if they can match this with £25k of sponsorship. This offer has two objectives: to provide an opportunity to renew facilities and equipment; and to improve and sustain relationships with business/employer partners.  Guidance provides further details on the requirements of the grant and how schools will be able to apply from September 2008. Please click here (Word 110 KB) to view the guidance.

Application form
You need to complete this form if you are applying for the Capital Grant Offer at Re-designation. If you are applying, please complete and attach relevant accompanying documents as detailed in Annex B of the Capital Grant Offer guidance and send your completed form to Please title your email 'Capital Offer' with the name of your school.
Capital Grant Offer (Word 56 KB)


All schools submitting SEF and SDP to the DCSF for re-designating purposes should email them to