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charters part two
1970-1989 PAGE 12

Encapsulating what he had written in the Gulbenkian Foundation Report he had authored in 1980 (see Felden Croft), Peter Brinson, in 1984, wrote, "Potentially the school can help to realise many of the objectives we outlined. When drafting this report, indeed, we had Bush Davies always in mind as a regional centre of excellence for South-east England. Clearly it is that, but now the aims are higher, to become a national centre too. This is in line with the School's history."

The 1980s were becoming a troubling period when local government authorities around the country were questioning their support, not so much for the institutions providing a Victor with Beryl Greyconcentrated dance training with a comprehensive education, but for the individual students applying for grant support. After all, this decade had begun in a recession, and was to finish in one also, and cost-cutting exercises were prevalent. How could such large sums of money be justified for the few when the few actually added up to thousands of applications each year throughout the country? Grant support, for 'exceptional talent', had been recognised for the age range through eleven to nineteen years at about twenty institutions such as Bush Davies. Where was all this talent coming from? The amber light of warning was slowly turning red.

Victor's 80th

Bush Davies was becoming a victim of its own success. In spite of what Peter Brinson wrote, Bush Davies was uniquely badly placed, not in the hierarchy, but in its position of being fully independent, unlike the other large schools. With the foresight typical of his family, Paul had spent two exhausting and frustrating years, from 1980, in trying to establish a charitable trust to secure the school's long-term future. He achieved this. All the conditions required by the Charity Commission were met and a Board of Trustees appointed. Effectively the shareholders of the school had agreed to cede ownership. The demands from the trustees, though, far exceeded the expectations of the owners. A satisfactory compromise could not be reached and the whole exercise had to be abandoned for the time-being.


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