All systems go for Bourne Grammar School

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BOURNE Grammar School is finally working towards converting to an academy at the beginning of next year.

The school revealed in October last year that it wanted to apply for academy status but was held up because part of its site in South Road, Bourne, is owned by Bourne United Charities and its trustees objected to the plan.

But after months of negotiations the charity gave its consent to the bid in June, allowing the school to apply for conversion.

The school has received its Academy Order from the Secretary of State Michael Gove and now the details of the switch are being finalised.

Headteacher Jonathan Maddox said he was pleased with the way the plans were progressing.

“The governors’ academy working group is dealing with our conversion and is working with our solicitor,” he said.

“It is hoped that we will convert on January 1, 2012.”

If the conversion goes to plan, the school will be able to break free from local authority and Government control.

The school’s name would remain the same, as would the uniforms.

Bob Brown, who is one of the charities’ trustees and former chairman, has said that one of the reasons the organisation objected to the plans was a fear the school could lose its selective status, leaving Bourne without a grammar school, but this will not be the case.

There were also other issues, including legal implications, which are currently being resolved.

This has included vesting land to the south of the site, which the charities own, to the Charity Commission.

This is so the school’s academy trust can be seen to be in control of the land. But the school will not be in direct control of the land, as the commission will hold the land on behalf of their trust.

This needs to be done to comply with the requirements of becoming an academy.

Mr Brown said: “We are hoping that by the time the school gets full academy status, we will have sorted out the legal side of things.”

Schools which are performing well are able to apply to become an academy.

Bourne Abbey Primary Academy changed its status in December. The Robert Manning College opened as Bourne Academy last month, and Bourne Westfield Primary School plans to convert to an academy at the start of next month.

Academy status allows schools to adapt the national curriculum, set their own pay and conditions for staff, change the length of terms and school days and set their own admissions policies.