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New Addington primary school closed for two days after heating breaks down

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HUNDREDS of pupils were told to stay away from school for two days after their school's heating broke down in mid-winter.

Castle Hill Primary School, in Dunley Drive, was closed on Friday and Monday while leaking heating pipes were fixed.

The Early Years Centre attached to the school was not affected and has stayed open throughout.

Councillor Simon Hall, chairman of governors, said the school had no choice but to close given the plunging winter temperatures.

He said: "We cannot expect the children or indeed the adults to operate in these conditions

"It is not something that we want to do because we know it is a disadvantage to the children's education and to parents and carers, but the school had no choice."

The school planned to re-open on Monday but closed after plumbers fixing the first problem found a second.

The closures angered some parents, many of whom were kept up to date with the situation by text message.

Dean Messenger was among the parents discussing the closure on the Facebook page of community group New Addington Pathfinders.

He said: "Disgraceful – as cannot afford more time off work.

"I for one certainly can't afford to lose a day's pay or pay for childcare from 8am until 8pm."

Cllr Hall said the school has long raised concerns with the budget-stretched council about the building's maintenance.

He said: "One of our concerns is that if we have ageing infrastructure and equipment then these things will happen. The school has been pushing for some time to try and get some improvements and some maintenance.

"Like a lot of these things, [it joins] a list of things the council is aware of and one assumes there will come a point at which it may go up the priority list.

"In the meantime we do everything we can to make sure as much as possible it does not affect the pupils. These circumstances were out of our control."

He added that the school will try and make up for the two lost days of education, possibly during some of the five annual inset (teacher training) days.

The council announced in April that one block (A) of the school would be getting a new roof as part of £2 million spending on repairing the borough's schools.


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