Hartlepool school is safe despite concerns over state of external brickwork, says Government

Barnard Grove Primary School.
Barnard Grove Primary School.

Government officials say a Hartlepool school is safe and they are working with the council on concerns with the brickwork on the outside of the building.

The decision was made late Friday afternoon to close Barnard Grove Primary School, which was completed in 2015 and funded by the Government’s Education Funding Agency, for three days this week.

Inspections have been carried out on behalf of the Government’s Department for Education on parts of the school building over the half term holiday last week.

The Government says the inspections were carried out by the contractor and concluded the building is safe.

But Hartlepool Borough Council is calling for a full and independent survey of the entire building to enable an informed decision to be made about the safety of all children and staff.

The school is expected to be closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week and hoped to re-open on Thursday.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The contractor’s inspections this week concluded that the building is safe, however the local authority has decided to close the school next week to carry out further inspections.

“We are working with the council and the contractor that built the school to ensure that brick work issues at Barnard Grove Primary School are resolved."

Parents and carers were notified of the closure and it is hoped the school will reopen on Thursday, November 8.

A further update will be provided on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 6.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, the leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “I am extremely angry and disappointed we have been forced to take this decision and I would like to apologise to the children, their parents, staff and the wider community.

“This school was funded by the Government’s Education Funding Agency who commissioned the contractor, technical advisor and architect and was signed off by an Independent Building Inspector, not a Local Authority Building Inspector.

“Responsibility lies firmly with the Government and we are pushing them to resolve this situation as quickly as possible.

“We fully understand and share people’s anger and frustration at the situation. However, our only concern is the safety of all children and staff.

“Hartlepool Borough Council has arranged an independent survey for Monday 5th November and will await the findings of that inspection before deciding when children and staff can return to Barnard Grove Primary School.”