Ilford school celebrates academy status

A Catholic secondary school in Ilford has become the third Redbridge school to become an academy.

The Ursuline Academy Ilford in Morland Road, has followed the trend and taken on academy status – a move which will see the school have greater powers over its budget and independence from the national curriculum.

School principle James Burke said there would be no obvious changes for pupils for the time being.

“The message is it’s business as usual in the school,” he said.

“We are still a specialist science college and religion is a very important part of what we teach,” he added.

The school applied to Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove for academy status in June, and it was quickly granted.

“The academy status will give us greater powers to change things like school start and finish times and the subjects we teach,” he said. “But we are still required to teach core subjects like maths and English.”

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“The funding that Redbridge would have held back for central services now comes straight to us,” added Mr Burke.

The school will now be able to balance its own budget, deciding where money should be spent within the school, for example on supply teachers or a particular subject area.

Pupils celebrated the new status a month after it was rubber-stamped by the department of education, by holding a special assembly before school.

A plaque has been made which will be placed outside the school, as well as a name change from Ilford Ursuline High School to The Ursuline Academy Ilford.

The other two schools in the borough to have become academies are Chadwell Heath Academy, Christie Gardens, Chadwell Heath and The Palmer Catholic Academy, Aldborough Road South, Seven Kings.

The Isaac Newton Academy is being built in High Road, Ilford and is due to open in September.