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Somerset schools are the first to gain specialist status

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: September 16, 2010

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Two middle schools have become the first in the country to gain new statuses.

Both Fairlands Middle School, in Cheddar, and Hugh Sexey Middle School, in Blackford, are now Specialist Technology Colleges.

The new accreditation means they are masters in the subjects of Maths, Science and Technology.

Aside from the prestige, they also get extra funding.

Until now only nine schools in Somerset have had the accreditation, including the Kings of Wessex School in Cheddar.

Peter Elmy, headteacher of Fairlands Middle School, said: "We are proud that our successes in the past and our plans for the future have been recognised.

"It is particularly pleasing to note that we are the first middle schools in the country to be accredited with Specialist Technology College status. The benefits will allow us to develop the children's experience across the whole school."

The first technology colleges sprang up in 1994 and now there are about 600 of them.

Jenny Venning, head teacher at Hugh Sexey Middle School, said: "I am delighted with this announcement. This is a major achievement for the school and reflects the quality of our provision.

"The additional resources given by the Department for Education will greatly enrich the curriculum.

"I have no doubt that this opportunity will enable us to provide an even better education for pupils in our school and across the Cheddar Valley."

Fairlands has about 500 pupils and was rated 'good' in its last Ofsted inspection in April last year.

Hugh Sexey has about 670 pupils and was rated 'outstanding' in December, 2007. Both schools cater for nine- to 13-year-olds.

A spokeswoman for both schools said: "To be awarded specialist status is a great achievement and demonstrates hard work and a commitment to raising standards and aspirations.

"One of the exceptional features of schooling in the Cheddar Valley is the collaboration between all the first and middle schools and the upper school."

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