A CONTROVERSIAL academy school planned for the city will be called Oxford Spires Academy to ‘inspire’ youngsters, its headteacher said.

Oxford School, in Glanville Road, East Oxford, is likely reopen in January as an academy, and must be renamed as part of the procedure.

Sue Croft, principal designate of the proposed academy, said: “It is an important step in our plans and brings to life our aspirations for the academy.

“Our aim is for the academy to become the school of first choice in East Oxford, to become a truly international school working for the benefit of its local community to help ensure all students reach their full potential.

“The new name reflects this aspiration based on Oxford’s world-class education reputation and I hope it will be inspirational for everyone involved with the proposed new academy.”

Academy status would free the school’s finances and curriculum from local authority control.

It is being sponsored by the CfBT Education Trust with Oxford and Cherwell Valley College and Oxfordshire County Council.

Earlier this month, opponents failed to halt the plans, after claiming it would be better to wait until Government funding was clear.

Of 74 people who responded to a county council questionnaire, only 15 agreed with the proposal while 58 were against it.

A petition against the plan, which attracted 599 signatures, was also presented to the council.

Former Oxford School chairman of governors Frank Newhofer said: “This has been a missed opportunity to re-look at the structure of secondary education in the city in a way that meets the needs of all pupils.

“But there is a need to give the school an opportunity to enable parents to have a different perception of it, and I’m not sure the name of the school is an issue.”

Supporters say the move is vital to drive up results. They rose from 25 per cent getting five A*-C results including English and Maths in 2005 to 32 per cent in 2010.

The school would take up to 1,050 children, aged 11-19, with a 250-place sixth form, and would specialise in English, and business and enterprise.

Wendy Procter, manager at Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel in Abingdon Road, said the venue was happy to share its name with the new school.

She said: “The only thing that would be a concern was if our guests were to Google us and got the school instead.”

The county council is carrying out statutory consultation on the closure of Oxford School until October 18.