§ Vera Baird
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the performance of(a) specialist schools and (b) specialist schools in Redcar and Cleveland borough, in achieving 5A*-C grades at GCSE compared to the national average; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Miliband
[holding answer 3 November 2003]56.1 per cent. of 15-year-olds in specialist schools1 gained 5 or more A*-C grades at GCSE/GNVQ in 2003, based on provisional data. For non-specialist2 schools, the figure was 48.7 per cent. The national average was 52.6 per cent.
This supports our view that every secondary school should be given the opportunity to attain specialist status when it is ready to do so. The breakdown of data for specialist schools in Redcar and Cleveland is not yet available. GCSE/GNVQ Performance Table data will be published in January 2004.
1Specialist schools cover the 979 maintained, mainstream schools which were operational specialists as at September 2002, with 2003 GCSE/GNVQ results.
2 Non-specialist schools cover maintained, mainstream schools with 2003 GCSE/GNVQ results.
SFR 29/2003, October 8th 2003: GCSE/GNVQ Examination Results for Young People in England, 2002/2003 (Provisional), Tables 1 and 2. http://www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/ s000419/index.shtml