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Redbridge Council closes school after electrical fault could have ‘blown it up’ parents claim

PUBLISHED: 17:47 31 October 2018

The school will be shut for at least another week. Picture: Google Maps

The school will be shut for at least another week. Picture: Google Maps

Archant

A primary school was forced to close after an electrical fault could have “blown up at any time”, parents claim.

Fullwood Primary School, Burford Close, Barkingside, has been closed for two weeks (one of them being half-term) while engineers fix the problem and pupils have been told not to return till at least Monday, November 5.

Concerned parents said children’s lives were at risk after overloaded electricity circuits started to smoke.

They claim the fault was known by the local authority “for years” but Redbridge Council engineers were only sent in to fix it on Thursday, October 18.

“We have been sending our children to a potentially dangerous school,” said mum-of-two, Keely Winter, 32.

“It could have blown up at any time.

“As you can imagine all the mums are angry and frustrated.

“It is the week after half-term and some of the mums have had to take unpaid leave to look after their children.

“How big can the problem be if it is taking all this time to fix?”

Another parent, who wanted to remain anonymous claims the school has told the council about the overloading problem for “four years” and nothing has been done.

“Smoke comes out of the box outside the headteacher’s office,” she said.

“There has been a danger of it blowing and putting our children’s lives at risk.

“As a temporary fix they are putting a generator in place, however, this is not a permanent solution”.

School governor chairman, Gilbert Billingham, wrote to parents about the electricity problem.

“We are a local authority maintained school and as such are essentially ‘tenants’ in the building,” he said.

“The local authority has a responsibility for the adequate and safe maintenance and management of school buildings and will be contacting parents.”

Redbridge Council confirmed that there were “significant electrical issues” which trip fuses within the main switchboard of the school, effectively overloading the system and making it inoperable.

It is working in conjunction with UK power networks and the school’s electricity provider to try and resolve the issues as soon as possible.

Engineers are currently assessing what is causing the overload with specialist data logging equippment.

“The council has made the difficult decision to close this week,” a council spokeswoman said.

“We want to apologise sincerely for the break in the education of pupils and the inconvenience to parents and carers.

“Our engineers are working with the electricity supplier to find a solution and this week an external generator will be installed to minimise the risk of the system continuing to overload.

“We recognise that an unplanned closure of this nature is difficult for pupils, and frustrating for parents but there is a need to ensure that the issues are fully identified and addressed before the school re-opens.

“We will update parents and carers further on Friday, November 2 about the arrangements for providing education to all pupils from the beginning of next week.”

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