GOVERNORS, staff and pupils have celebrated their school’s first team as an academy.
Mirfield’s Castle Hall School officially became Castle Hall Academy on September 1 after months of consultation and planning.
It means the school is no longer under the control of Kirklees Council and is funded directly by the government.
Brian Nicholson, chairman of the Castle Hall Academy Trust, said: “We have been through a minefield over the last few years, and the move to become an academy is a clear indication of the unity and teamwork shown by the whole school community.
“We are now determined and confident in our ability to keep this school moving forward.”
He said academy status would allow the school the freedom to build upon its strong academic performance and the ethos for which it stood.
Headteacher Andy Pugh said there were now exciting opportunities for the school’s future.
“We are keen to develop our specialism in Modern Foreign Languages, a subject area in which we are building an enviable reputation,” he said.
“In 2011, 97 per cent of Castle Hall Year 11 students achieved a grade C or above in a language at GCSE or equivalent.
“At a time when many of the top universities in the UK are requiring applicants to have such a qualification, people are now seeing the benefits of language study.”
Mr Pugh said he believed the academy’s curriculum of mainly GCSEs was also proving successful.
He said: “Over a third of our Year 11 students have secured places at two of the most competitive sixth form centres within Kirklees.
“This trend has increased in recent years, ahead of the likely changes in government curriculum policy.”
Along with the name change, a new uniform for students is being phased in from this year.