A PRIMARY school is set to pull out of council control to become a diocese-sponsored academy.

Parents with children at St Barnabas Primary School in Darwen have received letters inviting them to an information evening next week about the conversion to an academy.

As the school has close links to the church, they were told, it would join the Blackburn Diocese Multi Academy Trust, also known as Cidari.

A letter signed by parent governors Michelle Price and Jonathan Mercer said: “The governing body has for some time been investigating how to move the school forward in its quest for excellence.

“At a recent meeting of the governing body, there was a unanimous decision that the school should look to convert to academy status.

“It was agreed that the pupils of St Barnabas would benefit from the conversion and that governers should start the consultation with people connected with the school so they could understand why we think so. As part of the conversion process, we would like to invite you to an information evening to advise you of what this means for our children and our school.”

Headteacher Alison Haworth said no firm decision would be made until after the meeting on Tuesday from 6pm.

After its most recent Ofsted inspection, at which it was rated as ‘requires improvement’, the school had 166 pupils enrolled.

A spokesman for the Blackburn Diocesan Board of Education said: “We support any school that chooses to become an academy when governors believe it is in the best educational interests of the children in that school. As a diocesan school, St Barnabas is following the Board of Education’s policy to convert to an academy and become a member of Cidari Education Limited.

“The Board of Education looks forward to seeing the school continue to develop with colleagues from Cidari, thereby providing the best education possible for the children at St Barnabas as it continues to serve its local community.”

Whitehall councillor David Foster said: “I presume the governers are in the best position to make a decision on the school. I am not in favour of academies because they can potentially take control of the school out of the community.

“The worry is that they bring in outsiders to decide on the future direction of the school.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council has yet to receive official notification from the school and was unable to comment.