Kent: Pupils return to lessons after safety concerns close schools | #schoolsaftey

Image caption,

Pupils are attending lessons again following the temporary closures

  • Author, Flaminia Luck
  • Role, BBC News
At a glance

  • Children have returned to lessons after four schools in Kent were forced to close temporarily
  • It follows safety concerns raised by the Department for Education about a specific type of concrete in the buildings
  • Some pupils are attending lessons in nearby schools

Pupils at four schools in Kent have returned to lessons after safety concerns led to the temporary closure of their schools.

Urgent measures were enacted by Kent County Council (KCC) after the Department for Education (DfE) “unexpectedly informed” the schools of new guidelines concerning a type of concrete in the buildings.

Council chiefs said contractors worked to set up temporary classrooms and facilities to enable pupils to return to lessons on Wednesday.

Rory Love, KCC’s cabinet member for education, said “the speed with which these temporary measures were put in place was impressive”.

Meanwhile, investigations were under way at a fifth school, Godinton Primary, in Ashford, KCC said.

The schools which closed were:

  • Birchington Church of England Primary School
  • Sunny Bank Primary School, Murston, Sittingbourne
  • Palmarsh Primary School, Hythe
  • St James Church of England Primary School, Tunbridge Wells

In a statement, KCC said temporary facilities included interim classrooms, marquees and toilet blocks.

Year 6 and Year 3 classes of St James school are being accommodated at Temple Grove Academy and Rusthall Primary, both in Tunbridge Wells.

A catering company is cooking and delivering meals for pupils at Sunny Bank school.

Mr Love said: “From the start, I was determined that we did not suffer the kind of disruption to education that we saw during the pandemic response, with online learning becoming the default.

“I’m pleased that our efforts have meant children are back in the classroom ahead of expectations.”

KCC said work scheduled over the summer holidays would be carried out as quickly as possible.

It is hoped pupils will be able to return to their normal classrooms by the start of the new academic year in September.

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