BLACKBURN’S St Luke and St Philip’s Primary yesterday became the second school to join the Church of England in Lancashire’s academy trust.

More across the county are set to follow, including the town’s Sacred Heart RC Primary, in Lynwood Road and two schools in Darwen.

The Church of England in Lancashire runs the Cidari Trust which has been operating for several months and already includes St George’s High, a secondary in Blackpool.

St Luke and St Philips this month became the second school to officially join the Trust.

The acting headteacher is Kath Emmerton and Rev Paul Lock is the chair of governors of the renamed St Luke and St Philip’s School: A Church of England Academy.

Fred Kershaw, deputy director of the Diocesan Board of Education, said: “By becoming an academy the school will have freedom from local authority control and more control over how it delivers the curriculum.

“It will also have the choice to change the length of terms and the school days and holiday arrangements, as well as the management of the school finances.

“The school, together with the diocese, consider that academy status is the best option for safeguarding the Christian ethos and is in the best interest of current and future pupils and staff.”

The two schools in Darwen which will soon be joining the Cidari Trust are St James’s Primary School in St James Crescent and St Barnabas Primary School in Knowlesley Road.

In April, Sacred Heart RC Primary School, in Lynwood Road, Blackburn, announced it would become the first school in the country to switch denominations in order to stay open by joining the Cidari Trust.

Linda Clegg, Director of Children’s Services at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “This is part of the government’s academy programme and is ultimately the decision of the school and the diocese.”