School’s blocked academy bid could spell staff cuts, fears head

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A SCHOOL may have to make staff cuts after its bid for academy status was blocked.

Bourne Grammar School cannot apply for academy status because it needs consent from Bourne United Charities, which owns part of the school site

The charity has refused to give its permission and headteacher Jonathan Maddox is now hoping to meet with the Bourne United Charities to see if the situation can be salvaged.

Mr Maddox said: “Without academy status we would be in a desperate situation.

“The only way we can avoid that is to make staff cuts and the governors have approved that.

“We will also be looking at offering fewer GCSE subject options too.

“We have to make strategic decisions to balance our reduced income against our expenditure and the children will suffer.”

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.

Mr Maddox had hoped gaining academy status would give the school an extra £450,000.

When Bourne Unites Charities met on Monday, the organisation decided not to give consent.

Mr Maddox said: “The reasons for this have not been made clear to me.”

He said the school and governors had called for a meeting with the charity to find out why it had refused its permission.

“We are very anxious about this and are available to talk to them about this any time,” said Mr Maddox.

The governors carried out a consultation in autumn last year after deciding to go for academy status in July.

Mr Maddox said: “The responses showed general support for conversion, along with some concerns regarding admissions criteria and funding.”

At a meeting in February, governors of the school voted in favour of proceeding with the application.

Lincolnshire County Council owns all the school buildings and the north side of the site but the south was bought by Bourne United Charities in the 1920s.

It was believed this land had been put in trust to the Bourne Education Foundation but it was recently discovered that the deeds were still in the name of Bourne United Charities.

The foundation is funded by two charities administered by Bourne United Charities.

Bourne United Charities declined to comment but said it was writing to the school to explain its decision.

The coalition government said last year that any schools with outstanding Ofsted ratings could apply to be fast-tracked for academy status.

The change in status frees schools from local authority control so they can 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.

The governing body of The Robert Manning College, in Edinburgh Crescent, Bourne, decided to apply for academy status at an extraordinary meeting held on February 15.