HINCHINGBROOKE School opened for the new term as an academy last week, after concerns over the future upkeep of the listed buildings were settled. The school had to drop out of the seven-school Huntingdonshire Secondary Education Partnership in July after concerns were raised by the Foundation of Hinchingbrooke School, which owns the school buildings and land, over who would have responsibility for future repairs and maintenance. But in a letter to parents at the start of the new term, headteacher Keith Nancekievill confirmed the issues had been resolved and Hinchingbrooke had converted to academy status by the September 1 deadline by the skin of our teeth. He also revealed that he would be retiring from his position at Easter 2012, and that governors would look to find his successor by Christmas. Mr Nancekievill told The Hunts Post the trustees, governors and staff worked hard to ensure all parties were comfortable with the arrangements, and that academy conversion papers were signed with just hours to spare on the evening of August 31. It was a case of getting the balance right between what best preserves the heritage of the school and providing effective buildings for education, he said. Plans to build a community focused reception area and a new classroom will also go ahead, said Mr Nancekievill, after funds were released by Cambridgeshire County Council as part of an infrastructure investment agreement from a housing development in Godmanchester 10 years ago. The reception area, which was already being planned, will be moved to the other end of the schools administration building, positioning it closer to the schools entrance. Hinchingbrooke has not yet decided what the new classroom will be built for, but expects to put proposals to governors next month and for building to start next year. After nine years as headteacher, Mr Nancekievill will leave Hinchingbrooke at the end of the spring term. He said he had been thinking quietly about retirement, and hoped to spend time writing, gardening or pursuing his sporting interests or voluntary work. After 40 years working in school, almost 25 of them as a headteacher, I need a new and very different challenge. It is a good time for both Hinchingbrooke to have a change and for me.