A BURNLEY school is bidding to become an academy, it has been announced.

Hameldon Community College said formal discussions have started between governors, the Department of Education, Burnley Council and the Pennine Federation.

Headteacher Gill Broom confirmed talks were taking place.

She said: “The governors have entered into formal discussions with the Department for Education, the local authority and the Pennine Federation in relation to Hameldon becoming an academy with the Pennine Federation as our sponsor.

“Formal consultation with parents, carers and staff will follow in the coming months, but I must stress that no decision has been taken at this stage.”

However, an anonymous letter, allegedly written by staff, claims the move would be detrimental to the school.

The letter, signed Hameldon staff members, said: “The staff were informed of the head’s and the governors’ decision to opt for becoming an academy. How this will impact on the unsettled lives of the student community is debatable to say the least.

“This is a desperate situation which has become an undercover, rollercoaster display of power by a head who should have accepted defeat long ago.”

The Lancashire Telegraph revealed last Saturday that five jobs were under threat including an assistant headteacher.

The school confirmed staff cuts could become necessary but said they were discussing voluntary redundancies.

New school budget figures released by Lancashire County Council also shows the school is sliding into significant debt.

Figures from the county’s schools forum show Hameldon was just over £1million in debt at the end of April 2013 and has clocked up an additional £356,000 debt up to April this year.

The figures show this deficit is 32 per cent of the school’s entire budget of £4.5million.

It is not clear how becoming an academy would affect finances at this stage. The DfE has refused to let some schools who have a large deficit change. Others have had debts cleared by the state.

Lancashire’s NUT representative Simon Jones said: “The decision to seek academisation is very disappointing. Splitting schools away from the authority just makes it harder to plan for places and funding in the community overall.”

Coun Bea Foster, a governor, said the school was ‘working very hard’ adding its ‘main concern is the welfare of the children’.