Two secondary schools have officially become independent academies and taken on their own management.

Waldegrave School for Girls and Teddington School will employ their own staff and handle their own finances after converting to the new status on Wednesday, August 1.

Orleans Park School, Grey Court School and Christ’s School are due to become academies later this year or in 2013.

The Department for Education (DfE) will fund all five of them directly. 

Richard Weeks, headteacher of Teddington School, said: “Becoming an academy will allow the school a greater degree of control over the way that it is managed and developed.

“It is essential that increased resources are now directed into classrooms to ensure teachers can maximise learning opportunities for our students.”

Philippa Nunn, headteacher of Waldegrave School for Girls, added: “Now that we are an academy Waldegrave will have more flexibility to place much needed resources into the classroom.”

The National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers had spoken out against the move, saying the council was a safety net for schools.

Councillor Stephen Knight, leader of Richmond’s Liberal Democrat group, said: “I regret that our schools are breaking their links with the council and becoming academies accountable only to national government.

“In Richmond we have a long history of successful partnership between schools and the council which has delivered high educational standards for many generations.”

The council agreed in 2008 to spend nearly £12m towards a £36m makeover of Teddington School, which it completed last year.

The schools will not have sponsors and their governing bodies will make management decisions.

Councillor Paul Hodgins, cabinet member for schools at Richmond Council, said: “We retain a strong partnership role going forwards, and we will work together to ensure that the local community can have a stronger role in how the academies are run.

“Improving the standards of the borough’s secondary schools is one of the council’s key priorities. Both Waldegrave and Teddington are two of the finest schools in our borough, and have been working hard in recent years to continue to improve.

“But we must not be complacent, all our schools can improve further, and the council is committed to supporting our schools to do so. Central to this is putting more power in the hands of the front line decision makers in a way that will benefit their pupils, something the academy model enables.”