Headteacher accused of sex offences against boy

School headteacher: James Bird
School headteacher: James Bird

A headteacher from Leyland has been charged with sex offences against a young boy, dating back more than 10 years.

James Bird has been suspended from his top post at Newton Bluecoat CE Primary School, near Preston, following his arrest, which is believed to be related to incidents at another school.

He is believed to have been at Newton Bluecoat for the past 10 years.

The 52-year-old, from Acorn Close in Leyland, is accused of four counts of gross indecency with a boy under 16.

He has been bailed to appear before Blackburn Magistrates on Tuesday, April 22.

The offences are alleged to have been committed against one male victim who was aged under 10 at the time ,and a pupil at a primary school in East Lancashire, between September 1st 2002 and April 30th 2004.

Parents of youngsters at the 182-pupil Newton Bluecoat, in School Lane, Newton, Preston, received a letter at the start of the Easter holiday informing them of the suspension.

It said: “I am writing to let you know some rather distressing news, that our headteacher, James Bird, has been charged with sexual offences against a young person.

Mr Bird was suspended from post when these allegations came to light.”

The note emphasised that the allegations were not connected to the Preston school.

Tim Walker, chairman of governors at Newton Bluecoat said: “I can confirm that Mr Bird was suspended when these allegations were made, but cannot comment further as the matter is subject to the legal process.

He added: “With the co-operation of the police, we were able to inform parents of the content of their statement before it was made public, and also reassure them that the charges relate to a former employment.

“We are grateful for the support we have received from the police, the county council and the diocese at this difficult time

“I am glad to say school life has continued as normal throughout, and our pupils are now enjoying their Easter break.”