Grantham pupils told to stay at home because there is no heating in schools

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A headteacher has decided to keep some pupils at home because there is no heating in school.

Susan Dench, Executive Headteacher at the West Grantham Academies Trust, says she partially closed St Hugh’s and St John’s yesterday. The schools are being fitted with a new heating system and it is not yet working.

Mrs Dench said it was with regret she had to partially closed the schools yesterday. Today St Hugh’s is fully open but only Years 2, 5, and 6 are attending St John’s.

Mrs Dench said yesterday: “We managed to keep both schools open last week, encouraging students and staff to keep their coats. On Friday, I looked at the weather forecast and saw that the temperatures were due to fall significantly, so asked for an update from the contractors. We had people on site over the weekend, but unfortunately, the boilers were not ready for today, so I had to make a decision regarding closure. When I left for work this morning, I had to scrape ice off my windscreen, and there was a frost on the grass as I arrived at school. I could not ask you to send your children into a school knowing that I could not keep them all warm.

“There was some heating in St Hugh’s, so we were able to open the academy to Y10 and Y11: they were amazing, and responded to the difficult situation really well. We continued with our mock exam timetable for English and maths, and some even stayed for after school independent study.

“Tomorrow (Tuesday), we will be opening to all students at St Hugh’s and Y2, 5, 6 at St John’s. However, we do not have enough heated rooms to open the school to all students. We will continue to monitor this tomorrow and try to open more rooms where possible.

“Fortunately, the students at St Hugh’s are provided with an iPad and they have school work set on Showbie, Sam Learning, and PIXL apps. There is no reason for students to lose learning time even though they cannot be in school. All activity on these apps is monitored by the teachers, and if any student has any queries, they can message their teachers via Showbie, Seesaw or email.

“Students at St John’s have their reading books, as well as access to Mathletics and Bug Club if they have internet access. They also have their times-tables and year group spellings for practice within their planners. Further work will be placed on the website for each year group.

“I will continue to monitor the situation every day and seek a solution as quickly as possible from the contractors, but please know that this decision was taken in the best interests of the children that we serve.”