Disruption to learning due to 'urgent structural checks' at schools in North Tyneside

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North East MP and shadow schools minister Catherine McKinnell is demanding the government gets pupils back in classrooms after a primary school ceiling collapse sparked disruption at multiple schools.

Around 1,700 pupils are being affected by schools being closed or partially closed while “urgent structural checks” are carried out.

A construction issue came to light when part of the ceiling fell in at Fordley Primary School in Annitsford, North Tyneside, on December 20 last year.

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Now, Hazlewood Primary in Wideopen, Churchill Community College in Wallsend, and Grasmere Academy in Killingworth are facing disruption, including rotas for some face-to-face learning.

Hazlewood Community Primary School in Wideopen. (Photo by LDRS)Hazlewood Community Primary School in Wideopen. (Photo by LDRS)
Hazlewood Community Primary School in Wideopen. (Photo by LDRS)

North Tyneside Council confirmed the issue is not related to Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC), which has caused issues across the country.

Now Catherine McKinnell, Newcastle MP and Labour’s shadow schools minister, is calling on the government to act urgently.

She said: “Yet again the Conservatives are allowing children’s education to be disrupted by worrying safety issues with school buildings, with teachers and parents also facing yet more anxiety and disruption.

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“Ministers must urgently get a grip, clarify the extent of these problems on top of RAAC, and explain what action they will take, with clear timescales, to ensure all students can get back into the classroom.

“After over a decade of neglect, this crisis is another example of a Conservative government that simply does not prioritise children or their education.”

Meanwhile Labour MP for North Tyneside Mary Glindon is urging the government to provide the funding to get pupils back into the classroom.

She added: “Children across the borough are missing out on face-to-face teaching because of Conservative government cuts. Churchill Community College was on the Building Schools for the Future programme for replacement under the last Labour government.

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“The Tories scrapped this in 2010, and pupils in my constituency are paying the price for Tory cuts. I will be urgently calling on the government to provide the funding to get pupils back in the classroom.”

Pupils at Hazlewood are currently all learning from home. At Fordley, face-to-face learning has been restored with years 1, 2 and 3 back in one of the single storey buildings. Years 4 and 5 are being taught at Greenfields Primary while Gosforth Academy are hosting Year 6 pupils, all by their own teachers.

At Churchill Community College, Year 7, 8 and 9 students are on a rotation for face-to-face learning but primarily learning from home. Pupils in Years 10, 11, 12, and 13 have remained at school.

Grasmere Academy initially closed the whole school and all pupils were taught remotely. Now it is open to two-year-olds, nursery, reception and year 6 students in their single storey buildings. The rest of the pupils at the school, which include Year 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, will continue to learn from home.

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A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “We are in close contact with the responsible body, North Tyneside Council, as they carry out their investigations locally and will support them to minimise any impact to education as necessary.”