DUDLEY’S best state school is to become an academy as part of a group responsible for teaching more than 3,000 pupils.

Ellowes Hall Sports College is planning to leave the control of Dudley Council and team up with three other schools to form the Invictus Trust.

The move will see the Stickley Lane school joining forces with Crestwood School in Kingswinford, Ounsdale High School in Wombourne and Kinver’s Edgecliff High School.

Ellowes Hall is the top school of its type in England and last year recorded a verified 80 per cent pass rate of five GCSEs including English and Maths but head teacher Andy Griffiths says change is still necessary.

Mr Griffiths told The News: “It is about providing an elite experience, it is not about being elite and exclusive. I am confident this is a really good thing, I am obsessive about this place and would do anything in its best interest.

“These are good schools and my governors have taken the view that working with these will help us to stay outstanding.

“I don’t think it is possible to stand still, you either move forward or move back.”

Ellowes Hall already shares sixth-form facilities with Edgecliff and Ounsdale and although he is keen to stress the change is about more than money, Mr Griffiths conceded cash does play a part.

He said: “This is the only way we are likely to secure capital funding. We need a new sixth-form centre.”

The final decision on the change at the 1,100 pupil school will be made by the Secretary of State for Education but, with 61 per cent of secondary schools already working as academies, Ellowes Hall seems certain to be given the go-ahead.

Academies are allowed to set their own term dates and timetables but Mr Griffiths says parents will not notice any significant changes after conversion to academy status which is expected to take place in November.