A SPECIAL school in Oxford has been forced to change its name after jibes about pupils being trained as terrorists.

The Iffley Academy in Iffley Turn was known as The Isis Academy until it was rebranded in an attempt to avoid confusion with the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group.

The school is now in the process of installing new signs after the decision was taken in December.

Headteacher Kay Willett said staff and governors at the school had decided they had no choice other than changing the name.

She said: “We had negative comments from the wider community such as contractors and people who were coming to do work for us.

“You would give the address out on the phone and when you said ‘Isis’ the person would pause and say ‘oh’.

“Anybody who did not know the nature of the school would make comments like ‘are you training the children to be terrorists?’ “The feedback from staff is that if they gave the school’s name when travelling around people would say ‘my goodness that is unfortunate.’

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“The children themselves were beginning to pick up on the fact there were negative comments and we wanted them to be able to be proud of their school.”

Discussions about renaming the school were first discussed in December 2014 after so-called ISIS hit the headlines for a number of atrocities.

Ms Willett said everyone involved with the 132-pupil school, which caters for children from 10 to 18, was proud of the association with the Isis name.

But in September last year the discussion was reopened and it was decided the position was untenable.

The school had been known as Iffley Mead School until it became an academy in February 2013 so a decision was taken to return to its roots.

Ms Willett said: “It became so prevalent in the media and if you googled Isis you got a mixture of photos of terrorists and photos of our kids.

“The thing about Iffley is that people across the world know the Iffley track and the association with Sir Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile there.

“We never even thought about changing to any other name.”

Ms Willett added pupils at the school, which is rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, were pleased with the name change.

She said: “Our student body are a very trusting group of students.

“Many have autism and mental health needs and they rely on us to give out positive messages about life.

“When we told them why the name was going to change they were happy with that.”

Other organisations in the county were forced to make a call over whether or not to keep their ‘Isis’ name after the terrorist group gained international prominence.

Kidlington electrician Chris Carey decided not to change the name of his company from Isis Electrical.

He said: “We are still Isis, it seems like people are calling the terrorist group ‘Daesh’ now anyway.

“I still get a few comments and I get funny looks in places outside Oxfordshire. It is just a storm in a teacup and we are happy to keep the name.”