Hartlepool school to close for three days next week over concerns about external brickwork

Barnard Grove school in Hartlepool.
Barnard Grove school in Hartlepool.

A Hartlepool school is to be closed for three days from Monday to enable an independent survey to take place following concerns about brickwork on the outside of the building.

The decision has been made late Friday afternoon following recent inspections of the external brickwork at Barnard Grove Primary School, which was completed in 2015 and funded by the Government’s Education Funding Agency.

Council leader, Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher.

Council leader, Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher.

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; however 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.

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.”

Parents and carers are being 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.

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.”