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‘Our children were sitting in cold classrooms’ – Parents’ anger over primary school heating failure

PUBLISHED: 15:38 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:38 10 January 2019

Whitton Community Primary School saw power and heating failures this week Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Whitton Community Primary School saw power and heating failures this week Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ipswich parents who claim their children were called back to a primary school without heating and lighting this week have expressed their anger at the situation.

Asset Education head Clare Flintoff Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAsset Education head Clare Flintoff Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Whitton Community Primary School, which is part of the Asset Education multi-academy trust, was forced to closed several times this week due to heating problems.

However, several parents have raised concerns over a decision to call youngsters back to school on Tuesday – claiming their children were put into dark and cold classrooms.

Academy bosses confirmed this was the case for a period of time, adding that the youngsters were sent home almost immediately afterwards.

Children were asked to return to school on Tuesday after the heating system failed on Monday afternoon, parents said.

Texts sent to parents by Whitton Community Primary School Picture: SUBMITTEDTexts sent to parents by Whitton Community Primary School Picture: SUBMITTED

They are understood to have been sent a message saying: “Please ensure your child is well dressed for cold weather, including a coat.”

The school shut again at 1pm on Tuesday, and has remained closed since.

Bosses hope to re-open it tomorrow, and tweeted about the ongoing closure earlier today.

Further information and updates will be released proactively, school leaders said.

Michelle Staunton has two children at the school, and described the situation on Tuesday as a “shambles”.

“I also saw a big hole in the corridor with bricks in it where they were trying to sort out the heating, there was only a small plastic barrier around it,” she said.

“My kids were sat in the dark with no heating, the teacher said she couldn’t do the work properly, my kids told me they couldn’t see their work. It’s a joke.”

Fellow parent Kate Forsdick also said she was unhappy about how the situation was dealt with.

She said: “I don’t know why the school didn’t just close on Tuesday and got it sorted out, it’s not fair on our children to be sitting in cold classrooms.

“My child has asthma and I’m not very happy with this.”

Clare Flintoff, head of Asset Education, said staff did all they could to keep the school open.

“The heating system failed which meant the floor had to be dug up, the school closed early and children were sent home,” she said.

“Emergency heaters were brought in and then unfortunately, there was a power failure, probably because we had a lot of emergency heaters on.

“There was a power failure so children were in a dark room for a time but they were sent home almost immediately after.

She added: “We did all we could to keep the school open but we had to close it.”

Whitton Community Primary School was contacted directly, but we are yet to receive a response.

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