A HEADTEACHER who transformed a Hyndburn secondary school has been appointed as the new chief at an inner city academy.

Barry Burke, from Chorley, has been appointed as the Principal Designate for Manchester Health Academy, which is due to open in September 2010.

In 1999, he was became headteacher of Rhyddings Business and Enterprise School, Oswaldtwistle, and under his guidance the school was identified as the fifth most improved secondary school in England in 2005.

The new academy, which will be based in Brooklands, Wythenshawe, is one of seven across the city and will provide 600 places for 11-16-year-olds and 120 places for those in the 16-19 education bracket.

It will specialise in health and will be aimed at students interested in careers in the medical, clinical, nursing and technical health services. The Academy will also develop networks to help further support and influence the health agenda at other schools across the city.

Mr Burke said: “I am very excited about the job ahead of me. Manchester is leading the way with its academy programme in that not only is it ensuring children gain the skills and qualifications demanded by employers, but it is also supported by a comprehensive regeneration programme that is on a scale unlike anywhere else in the country.

“The Health Academy will have incredible resources that will allow it to offer first rate services and facilities, not just to pupils, but to the community as a whole. Coupled with support from a sponsor that is investing in the future of Manchester, it is an opportunity that I am convinced will be one the most rewarding of my career.”

In January 2006, while at Rhyddings, Barry became associate head teacher at Norden Sports College, Rishton, when the then current head became seriously ill. He remained in this position for eight months in which time he developed links between the two different staff groups which helped establish the Hyndburn Partnership.

The Manchester academy is part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.