A NEW name has been chosen for a failing school which is in the process of being turned into an academy.

Prestwich Arts College will officially be called “The Heys” when its conversion into an academy is complete.

But the regional schools commissioner said the academisation process will be delayed as the Department for Education deals with the coronavirus crisis.

Phil Rimmer, executive headteacher of the Rowan Learning Trust, which is due to take over the school in Heys Road, explained why the name will change.

He said: “The governors, school leadership team and the trust were keen to take the opportunity to rename the school as the Specialist School programme, which resulted in the school’s current name, ended in 2011.

“The decision on the name was made by governors with input from staff and students. The name will change upon conversion.

“In addition, students have taken part in a competition to design the new logo.  Two winners were selected by the governing body in March and their ideas have been used by a design company to create the new school badge.

“This will be used on signage, school documentation and on the new school uniform.

“The trust will provide a new school uniform for all students for the start of the new academic year.”

Prestwich Arts College was initially due to be converted into an academy on April 1 but the date was moved to May 1 prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

The regional schools commissioner confirmed this week that the academisation process will be reviewed in due course and in association with all appropriate stakeholders.

Meanwhile, the Rowan Learning Trust has secured funding for “much-needed” work on the school buildings.

Mr Rimmer said he hopes that the conversion will take place in time for work to start during the summer. 

Former pupil Josh Harcup has been leading a campaign against the forced conversion of Prestwich Arts College into an academy.

The teenager said that the change of name to “The Heys” is not necessary.

He said: “Prestwich Arts College was awarded the status of Arts College in approximately 2004, resulting in its current name to reflect this.

“The Arts College title acknowledged the hard work and talent of both students and staff in the arts department at the time.

“Current students have now chosen a new name. However is a name change necessary?

“Apart from the obvious and unnecessary cost implications, does this help keep the school as part of the community? No it doesn’t.”

The comprehensive secondary school is currently under the council’s control but has been ordered by the government to become an academy after it was rated inadequate by national watchdog Ofsted last year.