Albert Primary School set for £135,000 of 'extensive improvements'
10:37am Tuesday 29th October 2013 in Penarth news
ALBERT Primary School is set to reopen next week with plans for £135,000 to be spent on “extensive improvements” to prevent the risk of further closures.
The school was closed last Monday, October 21, after extremely heavy rain caused water to leak from damaged ceilings.
Parents and the Chair of Governors have criticised the Vale Council for allowing the school to fall into such disrepair after previously raising concerns about the state of the school.
It is the second time the school has been forced to close in under a year after an underfloor heating pipe burst in December last year. The leak drained the heating system caused the school’s boilers to close down and forcing the school to be closed for several weeks.
Chair of Governors Canon Roger Williams, writing in a letter to the Penarth Times, said: “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.”
The school is set to reopen next Monday, November 4, after the half term holidays.
Canon Williams added: “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.”
The school was closed last Monday, October 21, after school staff noticed cracked ceilings.
An inspection of all ceilings was completed by Vale of Glamorgan Council surveyors the same day and it was confirmed that repairs were required to three halls, the dining room, two classrooms and a corridor. The repair work to the Victorian school’s original lath and plaster ceilings is progressing as planned and will be completed by Wednesday this week.
Cllr Chris Elmore, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “The Council are developing plans with the Governing Body to spend the £135,000 available this financial year for Albert Primary to carry out extensive improvements to the school to reduce the risk of further closures. "These planned improvements will be carried out while the school remains open.
“The difficult decision to close the school was made after inspections of the ceilings revealed significant deterioration since the previous inspection last month.
“We appreciate the difficulties that unplanned closures of schools cause parents and investigated options to try to open part of the school last week. Unfortunately this was not possible. I would like to thank parents, carers and children for their patience.”
Jennifer Hill, chief learning and skills officer at the Council, added: “A contractor was appointed on October 21 to undertake remedial work to the affected ceilings. The cracked lath and plaster ceilings have been made safe and covered with a suspended ceiling.
"The work has progressed over the weekend and is nearly complete. The contractor now has to remove all access equipment, paint and decorate and clean the school throughout. It is expected that all work will be complete by Wednesday, October 30.”
One parent, who has a nine-year-old son that attends Albert Primary School, said: “It’s been such hard work trying to find childcare at the last minute.
“I understand that the school closing down is due to safety as nobody would want to send their child to a school that is not safe, but we don’t know what to do with them ourselves as we don’t know where they are in the curriculum.”
They added: “I think more work should have been done in the summer holidays so it prevents children having time off like they have to now. They are now losing out on valuable education. “
They added that the school closure had been a “huge disruption” to many families.
“We have been lucky that we have had family helping out, but I feel for the families that don’t have anyone to help them out.
“Some have had to take their children to work.”