A school called ‘Isis Academy‘ has been forced to change its name – after jibes about pupils being trained as terrorists.
The school in Oxford has been re-branded Iffley Academy to avoid confusion with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
It was given the unfortunate monicker after becoming an academy in 2013 and was named after part of the River Thames which flows nearby and is known as ‘The Isis’.
Headteacher Kay Willett decided to change the name after being asked ‘are you training the children to be terrorists?’ and photos of pupils and terrorists appeared when she searched the school online.
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.’
“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 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.”
The 132-pupil special school, whose pupils have a range of disabilities and mental health needs, was known as Iffley Mead School until it became an academy three years ago.
A rebrand was first discussed in December 2014 after ISIS hit the headlines and now the new signs are being installed.
Ms Willett added pupils at the school, which is rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, were pleased with the name change.
She said: “Many of our students aged 10 to 18 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.”
The Isis is the name given to the part of the River Thames above Iffley Lock and is the focal point of rowing for Oxford University.
However, other organisations named after the river are sticking by their names.
Electrician Chris Carey, of Isis Electrical, 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.”