A PRIMARY school’s transition to academy is set to move a step closer tonight when council bosses will approve the transfer of land.

As reported in the Lancashire Telegraph, St James’s Primary School in Darwen will become an academy sponsored by Cidari – Blackburn Diocese’s multi-academies trust – in June.

And Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive board is set to transfer the site of the school at a meeting at the town hall tonight.

It will also approve the transfer by way of a 125-year lease of the school playing field.

In a document submitted to councillors ahead of tonight’s meeting, planning officers said: “On December 4, the council was formally notified by the Secretary of State that the school was seeking conversion to an academy trust.

“The current site consists of a main school building, hard play areas and playing fields, surrounded by soft landscaping.

“The council is only required to transfer its freehold interests in the main school buildings, associated hard play areas and areas of soft landscaping.

“The council will grant a peppercorn lease for a term of 125 years to the academy trust for the requested site areas and the council will retain the freehold interest.

“The lease will be on a full repairing and insuring basis, with maintenance/ repair responsibilities resting with the academy trust.”

The move, bosses at the school said, will give them more freedom and the ability to tap into funding streams not previously available.

Headteacher Maggie Beck did not wish to comment, but stressed that the move was nothing against Blackburn with Darwen Council and was simply the best thing for the school and its pupils.