Head wants to meet trustees

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A HEADTEACHER has hit back at a charity’s objections to his school’s bid for academy status.

Jonathan Maddox received a three-page statement from Bourne United Charities last week stating why it has objected to Bourne Grammar School’s plans to become an academy - but he still wants to meet its trustees to sort everything out.

He said: “I should be pleased to meet with any or all of the Bourne United Trustees, at any mutually convenient time, in order to do what I can to help this matter move forward in the best interests of this school and its students.”

The school cannot apply to become an academy without consent from the charity, which owns part of the school site, leaving Mr Maddox and the school’s governors unable to move forward.

The charity members decided a fortnight ago to object to the school’s bid. The school says not becoming an academy will mean missing out on £450,000 of funding next year, forcing it to consider staff cuts and cutting back on courses.

In the statement last week, the charity stated that it wants to preserve the Bourne Education Foundation, to which it appoints four trustees to be governors at the school.

The charity says if the grammar school status was lost, the education foundation would be a shell charity with no trustees and it would not be able to give money to other schools in town.

But Mr Maddox has said in his response that the money given out to schools in the town represents a tiny proportion of their budgets.

He also said he didn’t understand the charity’s reference to “local democratic accountability” in their statement.

He said: “The school is not accountable to the town council and accountability to the Local Education Authority and county council makes the school as accountable to Grantham or Lincoln as it is to Bourne.

“You seem to want the school to be accountable to Bourne United Charities - which is not a democratically-elected body.”

The charity also said last week that it wants to maintain the legal framework for the provision of a selective grammar school education for children in the Bourne area.

They stated that a grammar school is the only way to ensure that there is a broad and rich opportunity for education in the town at secondary level, and that there is no assured way back should academies prove unsustainable, either politically or economically.

But Mr Maddox has confirmed that the school’s grammar school status is unaffected by conversion to academy status.

He also said: “A selective school which converts to academy status may retain its ability to select.”

He did add, however, that it is impossible to offer any guarantees for selection if academies were abolished.

The school has an annual budget of about £4m but Mr Maddox expects to get slightly less than this for the 2011/12 financial year.