School building work gives pupils a holiday extension

PUBLISHED: 10:40 12 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:27 06 May 2010

Headteacher Roger Owen at the Samuel Whitbread Community College

Headteacher Roger Owen at the Samuel Whitbread Community College

A BUILDER S blunder has given more than 1,000 pupils at a village college an extended Christmas holiday. The bonus was given to the children at Samuel Whitbread Community College in Clifton. Three hundred and eighty of them were told to stay at home on Mo

A BUILDER'S blunder has given more than 1,000 pupils at a village college an extended Christmas holiday.

The bonus was given to the children at Samuel Whitbread Community College in Clifton. Three hundred and eighty of them were told to stay at home on Monday this week and not report back to school until yesterday (Wednesday) morning because building work had not been completed.

Teachers had to hurriedly inform 1,100 pupils by text and phone to stay at home when the school was due to resume after the Christmas break on Tuesday last week because the 17 mobile classrooms which had been used while a two-year building project costing £9m was being completed, had been removed from the school.

But the builders had not finished the work over the holiday which meant there was nowhere available for the pupils' lessons.

"The builders said the school would be ready at the start of term in the New Year which was why the mobile classrooms were removed," said Samuel Whitbread headteacher Roger Owen.

"The new building was not finished and we had no option but to inform 1,100 pupils to stay at home for the rest of the week. I am sure many of them couldn't believe their luck when they heard the news.

"All the fixtures and furniture had to be put in, decorating finished and carpets fitted and we had to make sure all the electricity was safe for health and safety reasons.

"The builders left us in the lurch. They obviously thought they could complete the work but one would have thought they would have completed the work before getting rid of the mobile classrooms.

"The whole business has been a nightmare but thank God everything is now back to normal and pupils are in their fabulous new surroundings."

The building programme at the school is being carried out by contractors Galliford Try who have their base in Leicestershire.

Galliford Try were asked to comment but at the time of The Comet going to press had not responded to our request.

o Knights Templar School in Baldock was closed on Wednesday and Thursday last week due to a problem with the gas meter on its heating system.

Pupils were informed by phone, local radio stations and the school's website about the closure.

Lessons resumed as normal on Friday.

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