Hartlepool school to re-open after shutting for three days over brickwork concerns

Barnard Grove Primary School in Hartlepool.
Barnard Grove Primary School in Hartlepool.

A Hartlepool school is to re-open tomorrow after checks were carried out following its closure for three days over concerns about brickwork on the outside of the building.

Barnard Grove Primary School was closed for the first three days of this week to allow inspections to take place over external brickwork worries.

Christopher Akers-Belcher and Gill Alexander.

Christopher Akers-Belcher and Gill Alexander.

Work on the building, which was completed in 2015, was funded by the Government’s Education Funding Agency and Hartlepool Brough Council decided to close the school after concerns were raised about external brickwork at the site.

Initial inspections carried out on behalf of the Government’s Department for Education on parts of the school building over half term deemed the building ‘safe’ but the council called for further survey work to take place this week.

Council bosses have now had a further independent survey carried out and reassured parents and carers the building is safe and pupils can continue their studies at the school.

Gill Alexander, the chief executive of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We can confirm Barnard Grove Primary School will reopen tomorrow (Thursday, November 8) following the temporary three-day closure to enable an independent survey of the building to take place.

Barnard Grove Primary School in Hartlepool.

Barnard Grove Primary School in Hartlepool.

“This survey has now been completed and parents and carers can be reassured the building is safe.

“You may see workmen on site at the weekend, but they will be carrying out purely precautionary checks and there is no cause for concern.

“We would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding over the past week.”

Council leader Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher on Friday said he was ‘angry and disappointed’ the council had to make the decision to close the school and said responsibility was with the Government.

He said: “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.”

The Department for Education said the contractor’s initial inspections last week concluded the building was safe, but the local authority decided to close the school to carry out further inspections on the brickwork.

A Department for Education spokesperson added: “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.”

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service