A PRIMARY school has become the latest to gain academy status to give it greater control.

Darlinghurst School, in Leigh, will now have more say over its budget with less influence from Southend Council and the Government.

Academies are still state-funded and the school will continue to be held to account by the council.

The school, rated good by Ofsted in 2009, first expressed its interest in becoming an academy in 2010, but held off until the governing body felt the time was right.

Headteacher Bob Knight said: “One of the things we are quite concerned about is Government wants to change the curriculum substantially. We’re not convinced it’s better than the one we have got.

“As an academy we have more freedom and we can keep the one we have and don’t have to adopt any changes.

“This is better for the children.

"Being an academy gives them more opportunities and ensures we can choose what we want to do with them rather than it being imposed on us.”

The school will change its name from Darlinghurst Primary and Nursery School to simply Darlinghurst School. It will function as a multi-academy trust so it can work in a cluster of schools.

Westborough School, in Westcliff, became the first academy primary in the borough in October 2010.

James Courtenay, Southend councillor responsible for children and learning, said: ”Darlinghurst is a good school with a good leadership team.

"Being an academy will enable it to function more independently, but such is the way we work in Southend we work very closely with all our schools, including academies and that won’t change here.

“In fact, the school will be working with us to expand to take 120 pupils per year to take up the increased demand in the area.”

The school has 580 pupils on its roll.