Row over lack of action to repair leaky school roof

July 30 2020

DELAYS over repairs to leaky skylights at Courtney Primary School in Kingswood have come in for strong criticism.

The school has had to cope with water pouring down walls near electrics for months and Woodstock ward councillor Pat Rooney has said “promises were made but not kept” to fix the problems.

She told a South Gloucestershire Council cabinet meeting last month that things seemed to be moving following her email to the council leader Toby Savage on June 16.

Conservative cabinet member for schools, skills and employment Erica Willams admitted the delays were “extremely frustrating” but said talks would take place the following week  to agree a timetable of works with staff and contractors.

However, although some work is being done over the summer, it seems that the repairs to the skylights could have to wait for the next school holiday.

Councillor Rooney, who leads the Labour group, said at the remote meeting that her email to Councillor Savage had described “the seriousness of the school’s fabric with water running down walls and ceiling tiles throughout the school, against exposed pipes and gaping holes, and most dangerously the fact that the water pouring in was channelling near the electrics.

Row over lack of action to repair leaky school roof

She added: “As you know, Councillor Williams visited earlier in the year and was shown around all the problem areas inside and outside the building. Promises were made but not kept.

“Can I and Courtney Primary School have an assurance that all repairs will be carried out as soon as possible and a timetable provided so it will be fit for purpose to welcome back all the children in September?”

Councillor Williams replied: “It is extremely frustrating for the school but I have assurance that there is a timetable of work to be carried out.

“A health and safety consultant, along with property services and the education team, will be meeting at the school in the week commencing July 13.”

She said the meeting would consider which repairs could safely be done in termtime and which would need to be in the holidays, and she said temporary repairs would be discussed.

“I am looking at this as a positive way forward to get all these issues resolved for Courtney Primary School.”

Councillor Savage said the council was reliant on the construction industry for school repairs but the sector had been significantly impacted by Covid-19, although the situation was now improving.

A council spokesman said afterwards: “The council is working with Courtney Primary School to agree a programme of works to the gutters to start during the summer holiday period.The council is liaising with contractors and members of staff to agree a timeframe in respect of works to the skylights.”

A Courtney Primary School spokesperson said: “We are very keen to get the skylight issue resolved as soon as possible and look forward to the meeting with the council when we hope to learn when the repairs can be made.We are so proud of our building and grounds, so it has been frustrating that the work to repair the skylights will not happen over the summer break.

“There have been a number of longstanding issues with weatherproofing on our roof and guttering, but not so much that have allowed them to detract from the way we work as a school.We were delighted to receive a really positive ‘Good’ Ofsted report in May 2019 and we are hugely ambitious for both the school’s and our pupils’ futures.”