Headteacher ‘hugely frustrated’ after being forced to close school to three year groups

Headteacher Dave Lee-Allan in front of Stowmarket High School's new building Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Headteacher Dave Lee-Allan in front of Stowmarket High School's new building Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond

The headteacher of Stowmarket High School has spoken of his frustration after he was forced to tell around 500 pupils to stay at home due to a flooding issue associated with new facilities.

Stowmarket High School has closed to pupils in Year 7, 8 and 9 due to flooding but other year groups remain open Picture...

Stowmarket High School has closed to pupils in Year 7, 8 and 9 due to flooding but other year groups remain open Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Dave Lee-Allan made the decision to close the school to Years 7, 8 and 9 this morning after flooding around a building caused an issue with fire safety.

The headteacher said it was “hugely frustrating” and he hoped the issue would “kick-start some serious interventions”.

The school’s new £17m complex, which opened its doors this year, was build under the Department of Education’s Priority Schools’ Building Programme.

It replaced the old 1950s complex and accommodates up to 1,125 students.

Inside the new Stowmarket High School complex Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Inside the new Stowmarket High School complex Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond


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Speaking on BBC Radio Suffolk this morning, Mr Lee-Allan said: “We’ve recently taken ownership of a new building but unfortunately, what doesn’t come with a building is hard standing area so where there’s a slope that leads down from the field, all around the perimeter of the building is completely flooded.

“Which means, in terms of fire safety, if we had a fire alarm or something, our main routes are blocked. So I had to take the decision this morning to close to [Years] 7, 8 and 9, then at least we can have 10, 11, 12 and 13 – the GCSE and A-level groups – in the building and if there should be a problem, we can evacuate those safely.

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“So, it’s a safety decision but it is hugely frustrating.”

MORE: First pictures of new Stowmarket High SchoolHe added that there is a design problem which is being looked at by the contractors.

“It’s part of the Priority Schools Building Programme. Unfortunately, they give you the building and no exterior landscaping,” he said.

“So whereas in our old building we had playground areas in between blocks and buildings where students could stand – here, we’re in the middle of a field so it’s causing us all sorts of problems.

“But there is a particular design problem I think, which the contractors have acknowledged, but unfortunately the rain has beat them to it, which is leading to this extra flooding.

“Let’s hope that this issue today will kick-start some serious interventions to help us make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

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