Bill for flood-hit Wellingborough school reaches £360,000 as pupils face delay to start of term

It is likely that the youngest pupils will not be back in their own classrooms for a year

By Alison Bagley
Thursday, 27th August 2020, 9:40 am

Pupils at a Wellingborough primary school are unlikey to return to own their classrooms for a year after floods submerged the ground floor of their town centre premises.

All Saints Primary School's Reception, Year 1, and nursery children were left homeless after flood water cascaded into Castle Street and down into the school.

After a visit by a major loss adjuster the school's headteacher, Emma Johnson, has been told that the cost will be in excess of £360,000.

She said: "The cost of the damage keeps going up. The major loss adjuster has said it will be £360,000 but it's still rising.

"Plaster will have to be taken back to the brick for a foot all around the walls. All the floors will need to come up."

Reception and Year 1 will start back to school the week starting September 14 but staff and pupils face a week's delay as new mobile classrooms are installed in the back playground.

The 150 students in Years 2 to 6 will be able to return on Thursday, September 3 as six mobile toilets will replace those made unusable by the floods.

Flood water in the classroom

Nursery pupils will be able to meet at nearby All Saints Church.

Mrs Johnson said: "We have been told we can have the All Saints Church Hall for Nursery in the morning and we can use it for PE in the afternoons. Luckily nursery only meet in the morning.

"We can also use the church for whole school gathering and get together in our bubbles.

"If we can clean the playground then the children will have outdoor play when it's not being used by contractors.

Head teacher Emma Johnson in the ruined Year 1 classroom

"We have to risk assess and meet the needs of the children."

Rev Paula York, vicar of All Saints Church, said: "It's worked really well. We're so close it's really important to support them. We are really pleased we can do something to help.

"The committee has bent over backwards - we'll help them for as long as needs be.

"It's amazing how so much damage has been caused. Emma [Mrs Johnson] has done an amazing job. I'm glad that the church could help out."

The front playground underwater

In a letter sent out to all parents Mrs Johnson told parents of the latest situation and said that the earliest possible date for the school to completely re-open would be Easter 2021.

She thanked residents and members of the community for their help.

She wrote: "The school has been inundated with offers of support and help and would like to thank the local community for this.

"The Local Authority have been invaluable in providing support and guidance including the cleaning of the drains this week following the heavy rainfall which fell on Tuesday."

Sam Barber, chair of governors on behalf of the governing board, said: "The flooding at the school has come as quite a blow, especially following on from the school being closed to the majority of pupils because of Covid-19.

"We were looking forward to welcoming all the children back in to the school. The circumstances would already have been quite different with Covid-19 measures in place, but the staff had all worked incredibly hard to make the school as welcoming and 'normal' as possible for the children who have already had a very strange year.

Water in the classroom

"The flooding has now undone a lot of this work and the school will be even stranger.

"I am incredibly proud of how the school community has responded to this challenge including, but not limited to those who attended on the night of the flood to help: the staff who are quickly adapting and preparing for September, the wider community offering buildings and resources - particularly our linked churches All Saints and All Hallows, the parents who have responded with patience and kindness, and above all the hard work and dedication from Emma Johnson, headteacher, who has, once again, risen to each challenge that has been thrown at her."

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All Saints Primary School, Wellingborough