A NORTH London grant-maintained school has chosen to be voluntary-aided in a bid to protect its independence.
The highly unusual move will mean Highams Park comprehensive in Waltham Forest will have to find 15 per cent of the cost of any capital projects.
But it would give the school, which has links with Arsenal football club, greater control over its governing body, enabling it to appoint 11 out of 20 governors.
The 1,355-pupil school, which teaches several boys from Arsenal's youth academy, is believed to be the only former county GM school in the country to go down this route.
Most are choosing the new foundation category - the Government's preferred option - which preserves much of the independence gained by opting out and is nearest to their present status.
But foundation status gives the school only five representatives on a 21-member governing body.