Longsands Academy confident about safety after father raises concerns when kitchen roof collapsed

The roof collapse in the kitchen at Longsands Academy

The roof collapse in the kitchen at Longsands Academy - Credit: Archant

A St Neots father has raised concerns about safety at Longsands Academy after the roof of the school’s kitchen collapsed on the first day of term.

In a stroke of luck, the incident in the main kitchen, happened just after 4pm when pupils and catering staff had left for the day and no-one was injured. A photograph, sent to the newspaper, shows the devastating damage to an area of the kitchen where food is prepared. The school has confirmed that it plans to install a mobile kitchen and serving area by the end of this week and is liaising with the Department for Education to resolve the issue.

The Hunts Post was contacted by a parent, asking not to be named to protect his children, who raised concerns about the general state of repair of the building, which dates back to 1960. He is also angry about what he describes as a lack of information from Longsands.

“I am very close to pulling my children out of the school because I am so concerned about the general quality of the building, and what parent wouldn’t be? We need to know why this happened, who is responsible and how we avoid it happening again,” he said.

The parent said that if the school was struggling to pay for repairs then he and other parents would be happy to get involved in raising funds.

“There are rumours that other areas of the school are in poor condition. The school has dealt with this in the wrong way by not telling us what is happening, but if there are issues with funding I am sure parents would join together and rally round to support the school by raising funds. But I do not want my children’s safety at risk just so the school can save some money. This roof could have fallen in and hit a child.”

On Monday, Longsands published an update on its website and in a statement to The Hunts Post it said it had sought professional advice and was confident the rest of the school was safe.

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The statement read: “Unfortunately an area of our roof in our dining facility did collapse outside of school hours. We are taking all appropriate steps to ensure that pupils are safe and can continue to receive their education. We immediately sought professional advice from structural engineers and are confident that the rest of the school remains safe to use.

“We are working to ensure we can continue to provide school lunches and are liaising with officials at the Department for Education to look at how we can replace or repair the affected area.”

Headteacher Rick Carroll, added: “It has been important that we send messages to parents and kept them updated as to the services we are able to provide for their children and this has been done so via a number of updates on our website and emails to parents.”