ELTON Primary School is set to become an academy — the second in the borough — when pupils and staff return next month.

The school was placed in special measures in May last year, and the Department for Education (DfE) said that the school was “failing its pupils”.

In a letter to the school, based in Alston Street, the DfE has confirmed that the transition will take place on September 1.

The letter also revealed that Bury College Education Trust will become the school’s sponsor, as is also the case at Radcliffe Primary School.

School leaders said the change would be “seamless” and the only difference would be the removal of ‘community’ from the school name, which is currently Elton Community Primary School.

The change comes despite parents’ long-running campaign against the decision, and after the school’s board of governors were ‘sacked’ and replaced with an interim executive board. Mr Tony Emmett remains the headteacher.

In a newsletter to parents, the school said: “It is likely that the transfer to academy status will be seamless for children and parents.

“There have been no proposals to change the name of the school, other than to remove the word ‘community’ and no discussion about changes of uniform have taken place.

“There will be a change of signage to the school as the new signs will make reference to the sponsorship by Bury College Education Trust.

“There may well be an opportunity for further investment in the school, in terms of resources and facilities, ready for us opening as an academy.”

Members of the Save Elton Primary group had been angered by the move, saying progress was already being made at the school before the decision to become an academy was taken. Group member Paul Sandiford said: “As an ex-governor and a parent. I was disappointed that the DfE forced through the academisation of the school without consulting parents.

“The Ofsted inspections in February and June, along with the recent end of year results have been promising, and the foundations have been laid for further improvements.

“As a parent, I hope that the new academy sponsored by Bury College will continue to build on the improvements seen over the past 12 months.”

n Academies are independently run schools not controlled by the council, set up by the Government to take over schools that are regarded as failing.

They are not obliged to follow the national curriculum and have more freedom to alter term dates.