6:01pm Wednesday 30th October 2013 in Letters
HAVING read the full text of Mrs Maria Samara's letter, part of which you quoted in last week's edition of the Penarth Times (under the heading 'Mum's anger at school closure'), I would like to take this opportunity of associating myself with her sentiments.
On arriving at Albert School for a planned governors' meeting on Monday we were met with the news of the state of the hall ceilings. After listening to the findings of the engineers, a risk assessment was carried out and the difficult decision taken to close the school so that work could be carried out immediately. The governors felt most uncomfortable about doing this, as we realised the problems it would cause for many of our parents. But we had no choice; the safety of our children is paramount.
Cllr Elmore states that the cause of the problem was the extremely heavy rain we had over the weekend. This may, of course, have been a contributory factor. The major factor, as far as the governing body is concerned, is the continuing lack of interest shown by the local authority in maintaining the building to an acceptable standard over the last two years and more, so that the buildings are fit for purpose.
During the last two years the governing body has attempted to contact the LA officers and councillors via letter, email and telephone calls on occasions too numerous to remember and to little or no avail. (Copies of all correspondence can be found on file.) Matters deteriorated to such an extent that the ward Councillor for St Augustine, Liz Burnett, found it necessary to resign from the governing body in July because of a conflict of interest. An explanation which continues to baffle us! It is only this week that her position has been filled.
Hopefully the necessary urgent repair work will be completed to a good standard by the end of half term. But as far as the governors and staff are concerned the general state of the building is still far from satisfactory.
Albert School has an excellent record of achievement, and a most conscientious senior team and staff. The governing body feels that they are not receiving the support from the LA that should be forthcoming in providing them with school buildings that are fit for purpose in the 21st century.
I do hope that the LA will now start taking the condition of Albert School a little more seriously than they have of late.