A primary school outside Ipswich has been forced to stay closed ahead of the new term after Legionella bacteria was detected during the summer holidays. 

Senior leaders at Broke Hall Primary School, in Rushmere St Andrew, have written to parents on Friday to update them on the situation and the "unavoidable delay" to reopening.

Due to further testing that needs to be carried out, the school hopes it will be open before or no later than September 16. 

In the meantime, staff are searching for venues to use as temporary teaching spaces to try to support their 600 students and their families during the building's closure. 

Jacqui Noon, deputy head at the primary school, wrote in the letter: "Routine water testing over the holidays has detected legionella bacteria in our system at a level which presents a potential risk and therefore we cannot open the school as planned.   

"Your child’s health and safety is now, and has always been, our number one priority and so we have taken the difficult decision to delay the physical opening of the school to pupils until we have had one of two things: a satisfactory water test following deep disinfection of the entire system and the work to prevent a recurrence of the situation has been carried out, or, definitive expert confirmation that it is safe to open the school before such a test result has been returned.  

"We anticipate that this will be in place by 16th September but hope that everything can be resolved before then.

"In the meantime, we are working hard to find alternatives to ensure that the impact on learning is minimised.  This is likely to consist of home learning, as many of us experienced during the Covid lockdowns but may also include alternative locations and as soon as we have confirmation of this, we will contact you again.

"We appreciate that after a long summer break, both you and your children will have been looking forward to a return to normal school routines, but we will not compromise the health of our learners and are committed to taking these precautions while endeavouring to provide as much consistency of education as possible."

Anyone who can assist the school is asked to email frontoffice@brokehall.suffolk.sch.uk or call the school on 01473 729544. 

Mrs Noon said: "This was not an easy decision to come to but the safety of our children must come first. 

"Whilst we anticipate that we are likely to have to return to home learning, we are working hard to locate suitable temporary venues to use as teaching spaces whilst we wait for test results that confirm the water is safe. 

"We would be pleased to hear from anyone that can help us out in any way such as with a venue or transport for children from our site to such venues."