Norton College has become one of the first schools in North Yorkshire to achieve Academy status.

The move, instigated by the school’s governors in December, establishes a charitable trust with funding secured directly from the Government’s department of education Building on the Ofsted ‘Outstanding School’ status already in place, the Evolution Schools Learning Trust will take over the responsibilities of the local education authority. Not only will day-to-day operational issues be managed by the governing body, but also the strategic direction of the 904-pupil college.

Rob Hall, chairman of the trust, said: “This will give us control and flexibility as well as more money in the bank to manage our own destiny and reflect what the people in the area want.

“It enables us to decide how the money is best spent and key decisions are made to the greater advantage of pupils, teachers and parents.

The Government opened up the Academies programme to all schools including, for the first time, primary schools and special schools, last year, pledging to make the process of becoming an academy quicker.

Schools rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted are now fast-tracked through the process.

Tony Rawdin, executive head of the college, said he was delighted Norton was one of the first secondary schools in the county to become an academy. He said: “This will give us greater opportunities to help the pupils of Norton and the surrounding area to achieve their maximum potential.

“The key question for me is, will the college be stronger, and the answer is a resounding yes. As an autonomous, independent school we will benefit from the greater freedoms and flexibility that academy status brings. “We will be free to focus all our energies and use all our increased resources on the things that we know will make the biggest difference to students, such as keeping class sizes small and maintaining our excellent staff development programme so that children continue to receive outstanding teaching.”