PARENTS at the King Edmund School were today informed by letter that the school will be closed “until the New Year”.
Headteacher at the Rochford school Jonathan Osborn told parents the Department for Education (DfE) needed extra time to test the whole school site for asbestos after traces of the deadly fiber were found in the rubble of an old school building demolished in May.
The DfE project is part of their Building Schools for the Future initiative and is being funded and managed solely by the government department, including the appointment and management of contractors.
Here is Mr Osborn’s letter to parents in full, followed by pictures of the DfE letter to the school updating leadership on the situation
You will find attached to this letter a communication from the Department for Education (DfE). In it they make it clear they have made the decision to undertake further works on the school site and I’m sorry to say that this means that the school will have to remain closed until the New Year to allow this to happen.
While I understand that this is necessary, we are very disappointed, as staff are desperate to return to normal school life and to normal lessons. We are now working at speed with the DfE and Essex County Council to put in place the best provision we can for the remainder of this term. Since the evening of Monday, November 14, the school site has been inaccessible to staff, meaning that they have been unable to access and make use of normal teaching resources, as well as the necessary equipment to deliver remote learning as effectively as possible. This is the primary reason why we have not been able to move to live lessons for all students this week.
The DfE have reassured us that they will be able to allow us into the school at the end of the week so that we can collect belongings, resources and equipment. This will put us in a much stronger position to move to live lessons on Monday, November 28. We are also looking closely at how best to support students for those who need it – for example, our SEND students. This is more complicated than previously as we do not have the benefit of a central school base to use for this work – even accessing contact numbers of parents is more complicated, for example. However, I will write again later this week with more detailed information about how things will work from Monday. And, no doubt, we will continue to enhance things after that point as well.
I would also like to make it clear to parents that we are acutely aware of the impact that the current situation is having on students. We are raising this with the DfE so that action is taken to mitigate this impact in whatever way possible.
Thank you to those of you who have raised questions for the DfE using the [email protected] email address. In light of the DfE communication, and this letter, I am sure that you may have further questions. Please do submit them and we will pass them onto the DfE for their response.