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EDUCATION: Flooded school reopening

EDUCATION: Flooded school reopening

Image: Google

A school which shut after heavy rain flooded the building during ongoing repairs is set to reopen next week. 

Pupils at Ravenswood in Nailsea were sent home a day after the term started when the deluge poured into classrooms and affected the electrics, with another downpour days later causing further damage.

Councillor Catherine Gibbons has confirmed the children, who have unique and sometimes complex needs, should be able to return on September 29.

The executive member for children’s services promised a transparent review and said North Somerset Council would learn lessons from the incident.

She told the full council meeting on September 21: “I can’t thank the school enough for the way that they responded, the way they managed to get the children out and set up remote learning again for those who could do it.

“These are children with anxieties, for whom change is difficult to deal with, and therefore having prepared your child to go back to school, having talked them through what’s going to happen and then suddenly find that the school is closed and they’re going to be doing other things was very challenging.”

The flooding was caused by damage to a temporary roof covering in place as part of work to upgrade the main school structure that started over the summer and was due to finish in October.

Headteacher Mark Senior has described the damage as “catastrophic”. It affected the primary classrooms, post-16 buildings, sensory room, discovery room and creative arts department.

Cllr Gibbons told the meeting: “The school opened its doors to students on September 8, at which stage the roof works were still continuing.

“During the course of September 9 a significant amount of water penetrated the roof and came into the building, in classrooms and areas where children were learning. Some travelled through the electrics so the power had to be shut off.

“The headteacher was left with no choice but to send the children and staff home.

“Reparation began to the failed roof, however on September 13 there was more rain, causing more damage. The structural integrity of the building remains intact.”

She added: “Parents have asked how the children will be supported to catch up lost learning.

“The team has advised to focus for now on their wellbeing and make sure that when they go back to school they feel safe and comfortable, and look at the academic side of catching up once they feel that that’s okay.

“In the fullness of time we’ll be reviewing what happened and learning lessons and making sure that such disruption doesn’t happen again to any children in our care.”

Cllr Gibbons said parents are eager to know when they will be able to get back to work, adding: “We definitely want to make sure that they will know that on friday – cross fingers that we’re on track.”

Cllr Bridget Petty praised Cllr Gibbons and officers for giving daily updates and pushing for a swift resolution of the situation.

Words: Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter


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