School kitchen condemned by food safety inspectors

KItchen unit at Rothbury First School with headteacher Dianne Butler, chairman of governors Robert Famelton and county councillor Steven Bridgett.
KItchen unit at Rothbury First School with headteacher Dianne Butler, chairman of governors Robert Famelton and county councillor Steven Bridgett.

A village school’s crumbling kitchen had been branded unfit for purpose – although its staff have been rated as excellent.

As campaigners in Alnwick were celebrating news that the Duchess’s Community High School will be rebuilt, staff and parents of pupils at Rothbury First School were being told that their dining hall and kitchen had failed a cruicial food safety inspection.

The facilities, which date from the 1940s, received a one-star rating – based entirely on the condition of the building –after county officers visited in February. The report stated: “The standards of food hygiene and safety were found to be excellent, as was the confidence in the management (records and documentation). However, the actual structure of the kitchen is in a very bad state of repair and does not comply with the food hygiene regulations.”

Coun Steven Bridgett is urging Northumberland County Council to knock down the school hall and replace it.

“It was only ever meant to be temporary, yet here we are 70 years later and it is still being used,” he said. “The repair and refurbishment of this building has apparently been at the top of the council’s list for the last 20 years, yet we still find the building in such a poor state. We must see some action now, as it is no longer a case of just refurbishment.”

He wants the council to put it into this year’s capital programme, or next.