Thursday, 18 August 2022

Classroom makes children sick

CHILDREN at Kidmore End Primary School complained that they were being made ill by the conditions

CHILDREN at Kidmore End Primary School complained that they were being made ill by the conditions of their classroom.

They raised the issue with Henley MP John Howell when he visited the school, complaining that the Sixties wooden building was too small and cold and damp.

The school has since learned that its application to the Church of England’s Diocese of Oxford for funding to replace the classroom has been successful.

More than 20 year five pupils wrote to Mr Howell after his visit last month appealing for help.

Ben Beville wrote: “Our classroom is not really suitable for adults and children. Some of the problems are we do not have heating so we have to plug heaters in, costing more money.

Jessica Dippenaar wrote: “We are unhappy with the heating now working because children are getting ill. One of them got pneumonia because of the cold. I know it doesn’t sound serious but it is!”

Izzy Everett wrote: “The classroom is too cold and we have electric heaters to try to warm up. Condensation is causing computer hazards, which puts us in danger. Pupils and staff keep getting seriously ill, which means we have less teachers.”

Headteacher Linda Hull said the classroom was built about 50 years ago as a “temporary” measure and was only supposed to be in place for up to four years.

She said: “We have kept the building in as good a condition as possible given its age and monitoring of pupil absence over a number of years shows there has not been a higher incidence in that class compared with any others.”

In a letter to Mr Howell, she said that “after many years” the school had finally succeeded in securing a grant from the diocese. She wrote: “I am sure the children will be impressed with their instant success without knowing the many years of hard work that has brought us to this point.

“Perhaps you will visit us again when the new building is complete.” The Henley Standard understands the grant is for about £200,000 but that the school still needs the approval of the Education Funding Agency.

Mr Howell said he had enjoyed visiting the school despite its accommodation problem. He said: “The classroom is too small and too cold and it smelt musty.

“These were all problems I was going to raise in Westminster but the diocese has stepped in. I am delighted that the money has been found. It is an extremely good primary school and I look forward to visiting when the new classroom opens.”

Mrs Hull said: “The proposed new classroom will have proper facilities and will provide a much more positive learning environment.”

The school is rated “outstanding” by Ofsted.

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