One of the most significant developments within English education over the last decade has been the expansion of specialist schools as a means by which to promote diversity and drive improvement. While much research has examined the impact of specialist schools on outcomes such as attainment, little attention has been paid to the schools’ demographic compositions or their potential for exacerbating segregation. Gorard and Taylor (2001) reported that specialist schools admitted proportionally fewer children from deprived backgrounds over time. Building on their work, this paper uses data from the Pupil Level Annual School Census and the Index of Multiple Deprivation to examine changing intakes of specialist and non‐specialist schools between 2001/2 and 2004/5. Trends in segregation were not significantly associated with the presence or otherwise of specialist status in a school. However, they were significantly associated with foundation status and the presence of strong and/ or improving examination results. Such schools drew more ‘privileged’ intakes over time
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