St Joseph's College in Trent Vale, Staffordshire, celebrates becoming an academy

A leading Catholic school has made history after being fast-tracked into becoming an academy.

St Joseph’s College, in Trent Vale, Staffordshire, is the first school in Stoke to make the move and one of the first Catholic schools nationwide.

St Joseph’s took the step after the Government allowed schools with “good” or “outstanding” Ofsted inspections to apply for the status. It will mean the Catholic voluntary-aided school will be able to access an additional £700,000 direct to pupil needs.

Roisin Maguire, headteacher, said: “Because the funding comes straight from the Government we can decide how the money should be spent and not wait for someone else to tell us. We are an outstanding school so we know what we are doing. This will allow us to enhance what we already offer. I am very proud of the school and the hard work everyone has put in. This is the next part of our history and the start of a new beginning.”

The school, which fought a high-profile battle against council closure plans in 2007, is also working with schools to share ideas and try to raise education levels across the city.

Peter Mayland, deputy head, said: “Being an academy will give us greater freedom in everything we do, from the school day to holidays and the curriculum. We are happy with all those things, but we can now deliver what we want. We are keen to collaborate with other schools and share staff resources.”

The Christian Brothers, who founded the school and own the site, have set up a charitable trust for the academy status which allows it to look after the funding and appoint the governing body.