Floods chaos shuts schools

Anne Webb headteacher at St Giles Sch Ponte cleans up after a flood
Anne Webb headteacher at St Giles Sch Ponte cleans up after a flood
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‘DEVASTATING’ flood damage is causing chaos at schools in Pontefract after water pipes burst during the Christmas holiday.

St Giles’, Halfpenny Lane and Holy Family J&I Schools have been fully or partly closed since the start of the new term after a series of leaks flooded classrooms.

Anne Webb, interim headteacher at St Giles’ School on Skinner Lane said the damage had been ‘devastating’ and the school was not expected to fully reopen until after the February half-term holiday.

She said: “The ceilings have come down in nine areas all over the school and the carpets are ruined.

“The water has rushed down the walls ruining the childrens’ displays and into cupboards destroying workbooks. We have lost an enormous amount of resources, It’s a major loss of work.

“It’s going to cost more than £100,000 to repair and that doesn’t take into account equipment we’ve lost like overhead projectors.”

Nursery and reception classes are still being taught in an IT suite at the school, but the rest of the pupils are having lessons off site.

Years five and six are being taught at The King’s School, years one and two at St Mary’s Community Centre in Chequerfield and years three and four at St Joseph’s Parish Hall.

Mrs Webb added: “All the children are safe and secure and education is continuing. The staff have been amazing and we have around ten parents volunteering to help, but we won’t be back in school before half-term.”

Halfpenny Lane school suffered similar problems after more than 40 leaks sprung up around the building.

Pupils in years one to six are being taught in one half of the school but nursery and reception classes are closed until further notice.

Acting headteacher Ann Dunn said: “It’s quite a nightmare. Half of the school is damaged quite badly, we need new floors and new ceilings.

“We’re trying desperately to get on with getting nursery and reception back in as soon as possible, but at the moment things aren’t looking too good.”

At Holy Family J&I School a water tank overflowed, flooding one classroom. Workmen who were already on site were able to rectify the problem quickly. Headteacher Christine Weir said the school had to be closed for three days due to the “chaos”.

A Wakefield Council spokesman said: “Council officers have been working with all the schools affected in order to minimise disruption for pupils and their families. We continue to offer support and work with the schools to address the damage as soon as possible.”