A clean up operation is in full swing at a Ribble Valley secondary school after it was forced to partially close following being flooded over the weekend.
Mr Michael Wright, head teacher at St Augustine’s RC High School at Billington, had to take emergency measures and make the decision to partially shut the school after it suffered “major damage” due to a burst internal water main.
As a result the school was open for Year 11 pupils only on Monday and closed for Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 while the damage was assessed and an initial clean-up of the site began.
Speaking to the Clitheroe Advertiser this week, Mr Wright said: “We have had contractors and site staff working on cleaning up the damage caused by the mains water leak and ensuring that the classrooms, staircases and corridors are safe before we allow children back into those areas.”
He added that this has allowed him to open the school to Years 7, 10 and 11 today (Tuesday) with the hope that more children will be allowed back later this week.
“A lot of the damage has been to the Food Technology, ICT and Science areas of school and it is essential that these areas are fully dried out before any building works can be undertaken,” Mr Wright explained. “Thankfully the school is covered by insurance and we have had excellent support from Lancashire County Council.
“All the staff have been brilliant and really pulled together to ensure that we can re-open for all of pupils as soon as possible.
“A number of staff and school governors gave up their Sunday to come in to school and help with the initial clean up.
“It was heart-breaking to see the damage to the classrooms and particularly disruptive at this time of year when our new Year 7 pupils have just started, but we had to be sure the school was safe before we could allow the children back”.
Mr Wright added: “We anticipate that we will have some temporary classrooms on site by the end of next week to provide the additional teaching space that will be needed.
“We are hoping that the majority of the school will be ready for our Open Evening on Thursday October 6th which will go ahead as planned.”
Families have been kept informed via text messages and the school’s website.
St Augustine’s is an oversubscribed mixed 11-16 Roman Catholic High School with over 1,000 pupils on its roll and is one of the largest Catholic 11-16 high schools within Lancashire.