Bourne academy talks start

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TALKS have begun to settle a dispute over Bourne Grammar School becoming an academy.

Bourne United Charities object to the school’s academy bid as it fears the school could lose selective status, leaving Bourne without a grammar school.

The charities’ agreement is needed because they own part of the land the school is built on.

Headteacher Jonathan Maddox says the school’s grammar school status would be unaffected by the academy plans – and the school would miss out on £450,000 in funding next year if it does not become an academy, forcing it to consider staff cuts and reducing courses.

Mr Maddox said: “We approached the charities asking if they were prepared to have an informal meeting and they said yes.”

A school governor met representatives of the united charities last week and talks are ongoing.

Bourne United Charities chairman Bob Brown is positive all the issues can be sorted out.

He said: “We are moving forward and the parties are still talking, but it is a bit slow.

“We are just working our way through the issues and it is now a case of seeing if we can resolve our differences and can move forward.

“One thing we want people to know is that we want to make sure that Bourne Grammar School’s future is secure.”

The charities are also keen to preserve the Bourne Education Foundation, to which they appoint four trustees to be governors of the school.

The charities said if the grammar school status were lost, the education foundation would be a ‘shell’ charity with no trustees and unable to give cash to other schools. But Mr Maddox says money given to other schools amounts to a tiny proportion of their budgets.