As you are aware, school has been closed for tests following the discovery of an unpleasant, unidentified odour in parts of the building.
In the first instance, an emergency gas team was called on Thursday evening, but could find no evidence of a leak.
Then, in discussion with staff at our Friday morning briefing, it came to light that colleagues had been suffering various symptoms that may have been related to the odour.
As there were potential health and safety concerns for pupils and staff I immediately contacted the school’s property consultant (NPS) to ask them to assess and advise on the situation. A NPS representative arrived on Friday afternoon and he arranged for investigations and testing to take place that day.
Tests carried out on Friday were inconclusive so a specialist consultant was arranged to attend on Monday to carry out more extensive analysis covering all areas where evidence of odours had been reported. Building and engineering companies were also contracted to inspect all areas, including roof voids.
In discussion with Governors and the local authority, the decision was made to close school on Monday.
It was originally expected that the results of the tests carried out by the specialist would be available the same day. However, during Monday it became clear that results would not be available until late on Tuesday afternoon at the earliest.
A decision then had to be made about opening school on Tuesday. While we were still unable to pinpoint the source of the odour the decision was made to remain closed for another day. Parents were informed via the Call Parent system as soon as possible.
By Tuesday lunchtime the laboratory then reported that the analysis was taking longer than originally planned. Although the company is giving our case priority, the amount of testing we requested and the time to process each means that results are now only due on Wednesday. That being the case, and given the logic we applied in closing on Tuesday, we have no option but to remain closed for a further day. Therefore, school will be closed on Wednesday.
I hope the above goes some way to explain the dilemma presented to school over the last few days. We have endeavoured to work as quickly as possible to resolve a situation where there have been no simple solutions.
I can assure you that every effort is being made to ensure the air quality is safe as soon as possible. Unless assured of this, the Governors and myself are not prepared to put at risk the health and wellbeing of your children and the school’s staff.
Of course, we understand that closing school presents problems for many of our families, but our duty of care is to our children, and what is right for them will always take priority.