The Catholic primary school in South Croydon which suddenly announced that it would be immediately closed to pupils because of unsafe buildings on its site is planning to reopen on Monday – though parents and carers of pupils at the school have told Inside Croydon that they have received no update from the head or governors.
As Inside Croydon reported exclusively two weeks ago, the headteacher at Regina Coeli, on Pampisford Road, issued an emergency email in the late afternoon of October 12, expressing “some concerns about the safety of the building”.
The email advised parents and carers that, with immediate effect, the school would be closed on Friday October 13 and for the following week, as well as for the past week which had been arranged as half-term.
The sudden change of plan saw hundreds of parents having to make new arrangements for childcare for the following day, with many also forced to change their work arrangements and other plans for the following week.
The emergency note contained no explanation about the nature of the safety concerns, although it did say that the closure was not related to “crumbling concrete”, RAAC, or Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete, which has caused hundreds of other schools and public buildings to be closed and require urgent repair.
Parents who received that closure notice have contacted Inside Croydon in the last 48 hours to say that they have heard nothing from the school since, and nothing to confirm that the school will be safe for the return of their youngsters on Monday, October 30.
Frances Hawkes, the “executive headteacher”, claims that two updates – including the one on October 12 – have been sent to all parents and carers via email, with a third planned to be sent today.
“We’ve been clear throughout that pupils will be returning on Monday October 30 and we very much look forward to welcoming them back,” Hawkes said.
Regina Coeli school comprises a mix of Victorian and more modern buildings, including Kendra Hall, once the home of the Allders family who owned the town centre department store.
According to Hawkes, it was the roof of a building in another part of the school which caused concern.
“An inspection found a structural issue with the roof in the Year 5 block,” Hawkes said in a statement issued to Inside Croydon.
“The safety of our pupils and our staff is our utmost priority, so as a precaution, we acted immediately and closed the block so the works could get underway. These works have meant the pupils can return on Monday as planned.”
The head said that she and the school have worked “closely” with Croydon Council and the Department for Education “to ensure our pupils can continue to receive vital face-to-face education”.
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