Flood-hit schools ‘left at risk of another disaster’

Headteachers warn they need extra funding to pay for flood-protection measures

Schools had to deal with cancelled classes, ruined furniture and submerged sites after storms brought record-breaking downpours at the end of last year.

Now headteachers are warning that their insurance policies have left them vulnerable to further calamity – unless the government steps in.

Schools have been told that their insurance does not cover the installation of flood-resistant fixtures or fittings, meaning a potential repeat of the closures and disruption they faced this academic year after being lashed by Storms Desmond and Eva last December.

‘There’s a finite budget’

Some have applied for funding from the Department for Education and the Education Funding Agency. Unless funding decisions are reached soon, they will have to rebuild school sites with materials that are unlikely to be able to withstand another flood.

Trinity School in Carlisle was closed for a month after flooding wrecked furniture, caused heating and hot-water failures, and submerged the sports arena under 7ft of water. It has appealed to the DfE for additional funding. Sheila Johnston, co-headteacher, said: “They’re being sympathetic, but there are a number of schools affected and there’s a finite budget.”

A DfE spokesman said: “We recognise that there is still significant damage to some school buildings. We are in contact with the schools and their local authorities to offer the necessary support to help repair the damage with as little disruption as possible.”

This is an edited version of an article in the 18 March edition of TES. Subscribers can read the full article here. This week’s TES magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

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