Haltwhistle Primary School reopens after traumatic start to the school year

30th September 2022

Commiserations to Haltwhistle Academy Primary School, which has suffered one of the toughest starts to the new academic year in the whole region. The school, part of the WISE Academies Trust, was subjected to an arson attack and  then serious flooding just as they were set to reopen after the summer holidays.

Damage to multi-million pound Refurbishment

In 2021 Haltwhistle school went through a £2.65M project to become a primary school, having previously been part of a 3 tier system.  The weekend before the new school year, fire crews had to attend the school premises to put out a fire in a stolen car, which is now being looked into as an incident of arson by Northumbria Police.

Despite the arson attack, the school was set to reopen on Monday September 5 to start the new school year. However, they then received a notice during the early hours of Sunday September 4, alerting them that there had been significant water damage. The building suffered this damage due to a flood from a burst pipe that had been used to help put out the fire!

The flood prevented the school opening on the first day of term, leaving the school community ‘devastated’.

Wise and swift action

Lisa Charlton, Health & Safety and Estates Manager for WISE commented:

“WISE Academies acted swiftly and engaged the services of the relevant specialists to provide the necessary building reassurance checks and  commence the drying out process.

Working in conjunction with the Risk Protection Arrangement Scheme (RPA) the Trust’s insurance provider, an independent consultant in damage assessment and business recovery was appointed to advise which areas of the building could be reoccupied. This enabled an assessment to be undertaken of the suitable teaching space available and the Head Teacher was delighted to be able to open the school to all pupils on Monday 12th September 2022.

The damaged areas of the school have been safely segregated from staff and pupils and remedial works have commenced. It is planned that all of the restoration works will be completed by the end of October 2022.”

Chris Zarraga, Director of Schools North East commented:

“Our hearts go out to Haltwhistle Academy Primary School. When students have missed so much in-person learning over the last few years, the last thing any school wants is a disaster like this. It’s wonderful to see the quick turnaround from the school and from WISE Academies to fix these problems and ensure students got the best start to the new school year.”

WISE Academies CEO Zoe Carr will be joining us next week at the Schools North East Annual Summit 2022. Her session ‘Crafting the Primary Curriculum’ will explore evidence informed approaches to curriculum design. If you have not yet booked your ticket please click here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeQZyGVgDx7xSJMw2Cki8Jv1yXm5SHPPKPrZOeXc0B2tJ8Ocg/viewform

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