§ Ms Dari Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the performance of specialist schools in achieving 5 A* to C grades at GCSE compared to the national average; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Miliband
Based on provisional data, in 2003, specialist schools averaged 56.1 per cent. of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C, compared to the national average of 48.7 per cent'. This is one of the reasons why we want every school that is ready to take on the challenge of specialist status.
1 Specialist schools cover the 979 maintained, mainstream schools which were operational specialists as at September 2002, with 2003 GCSE/GNVQ results.
SFR 29/2003, 8 October 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