The Impact of Specialist and Faith Schools on Performance

Peter Rudd, Sandie Schagen, Ian Schagen, Deborah Davies

01 February 2002

Both specialist and faith schools can be seen as part of the present government's drive to raise standards and promote diversity. The White Paper, Schools Achieving Success, published in 2001, announced plans for new specialisms and a large increase in the number of specialist schools; it also advocated an expansion in the number of faith schools.

Specialist and faith schools tend to be popular with parents, and obtain good results in national league tables. Questions are sometimes asked as to whether this is due to their status as specialist/faith schools, or to other factors. In particular, it has been suggested that their success is due to the fact that they have a 'better' intake than other schools.

In order to explore this issue, it was felt necessary to undertake a value-added analysis which took prior attainment and other key factors into account. This research comprised two strands: a review of publised literature and some primary analysis.