Bourne Abbey ‘frontrunner’ to lead new town school

Bourne Abbey Primary Academy looks set to run the primary school at Elsea Park after Bourne Westfield’s application was withdrawn.

Bourne Abbey has been selected as the preferred operators to run the new academy school, which is due to open in September 2014.

A panel, made up of the assistant director for children’s services at Lincolnshire County Council, a representative from the Lincolnshire Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee and two headteachers of Lincolnshire maintained primary schools, put forward the recommendation after considering three applications.

Chairman of governors John Kirkman said: “We are delighted that we have been recognised as the preferred bidder.”

Mr Kirkman said the school will release its plans after the decision is finalised.

Bourne Westfield Primary Academy, working in partnership with the CfBT Schools Trust, had originally been selected as the preferred operator.

The council planned to make its decision in February but it was delayed due to “new information”.

Since then the application by CfBT Schools Trust with Bourne Westfield has been withdrawn.

Schools director of CfBT Schools Trust Anna Crispin, said: “We had every confidence in our partnership with Bourne Westfield Primary Academy and the ability of our combined team to deliver first class education at the proposed new academy.

“We felt however, following the results of an Ofsted inspection in November 2013, that it was important for Bourne Westfield to concentrate on delivering its own improvements.

“Elaine Radley, who joined Bourne Westfield in September, is an outstanding headteacher and I have every confidence that she will make rapid improvements at the school. Our withdrawal from the bidding process is an issue of timing, not confidence in or ability of our joint delivery team.”

In November Ofsted inspectors said Bourne Westfield Primary Academy rated the school as requiring improvement. Since then inspectors have recognised huge strides have been made to get back to
 outstanding,

The education panel’s preference will be discussed by a meeting of Lincolnshire County Council’s children and young people’s scrutiny committee today.

Executive councillor for children’s services Patricia Bradwell (Con) will then decide which application is put forward to the Secretary of State for Education for approval.

It is not known who the third applicant in the process was.

The Elsea Park school will provide 210 places, 30 in each year group.

Contributions to the £2.5m construction costs will be paid by Elsea Park developers Kier Homes as part of an agreement made when the 2,000-home estate was granted planning permission.