Five years after opening its doors, Yavneh College in Borehamwood has become the first Jewish school to be awarded academy status by the Department for Education.
As a result, it will receive an additional £200,000 of annual funding directly from the government. It will employ extra staff, purchase more equipment and focus on plans to set up a two-form entry primary.
The new section, due to open next year, will be built on land at the side of the secondary school site, which currently accommodates 700 pupils.
Headteacher Dr Dena Coleman said academy status would be of "significant benefit" to pupils. "We will continue to offer the same high quality education that Ofsted recently judged to be 'outstanding', but with the benefit of increased autonomy and resources to take the school on to the next stage in its development."
Governors' chair Sue Nyman added: "The trustees and governors are very proud of this achievement. Yavneh College will be able to be more proactive in developing its strengths and further enhancing the education offered."