Specialized school

For the equivalent in the UK, see specialist school. For the equivalent in the United States, see magnet school.
For special needs schools, see Special school.

Specialized schools are secondary schools with enhanced coverage of certain subjects that constitute the specialization of the school. They should not be identified with vocational schools, whose goal is to deliver skills for a particular type of job.

Soviet Union and post-Soviet states

Of the specialized school in the Soviet Union (Russian: Школа с уклоном, Shkola s uklonom) there were three typical types: physical/mathematical schools, with enhanced education in physics and mathematics, sports school, and schools with advanced study of a foreign language of choice. This tradition continued in a number of post-Soviet states, notably Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus, with many schools renamed into liceums.

There also were schools with musical education, but they were in their own category and called "secondary musical school". In secondary musical schools, the primary goal was musical education since the 1st grade (i.e., they may be classified as vocational schools), with obligatory general secondary education provided in a somewhat truncated form. (Note: In the terminology of the Soviet Union, the "secondary school" included primary education as well, i.e., it encompassed grades 1-10.)

Foreign language schools started study of a particular foreign language since the 1st grade (in regular Soviet schools foreign language was introduced in the 5th grade) and, since some grade (commonly the 5th) some subjects were delivered in this language. Language schools specialized in English, German, French, and Spanish languages, with English schools being most common in late Soviet Union and Spanish least common.

Physmath schools (physical/mathematical schools) delivered enhanced education in physics and mathematics. Most commonly, this enhancement started at higher grades, typically starting at 8th or 9th grades.

A fact of note was a very high percentage of Jewish students in physmath schools. There was no informal quota for Jews in specialized schools, unlike some prestigious universities and research institutions.[1]

There are three categories of sports schools:

In modern Russia the sports schools are officially named as 'учреждение дополнительного образования' (supplementary education institution), e.g., 'supplementary education institution "School of High Sports Mastery"'.

These schools were specialized in particular sports: soccer, diving, gymnastics, etc. The first children sports school was created in 1934. In 1987 there were about 7,500 CYSSs, 1,400 ORSs and about 200 SHSMs, with about 5,000,000 of students.

Schools and notable alumni


  1. Kerosinka: An Episode in the History of Soviet Mathematics
   * Official web site of Saint Petersburg Lyceum 30 http://www.school30.spb.ru/
   * Сайт Физико-Математической Школы при НГУ
   * Физико-математическая школа им. М. А. Лаврентьева при НГУ

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