Boiler failure and the cost to school
Dear Sir, — Local primary school Black Firs took emergency measures and closed their doors to pupils for two days due to, as the head put it “catastrophic failure” of the hot water system. This saw families and friends pull together across the school community to support emergency childcare arrangements and local play centre Go Bananas offered free entry to pupils on these days. I thought this to be a lovely gesture.
However, I am saddened that the school has had its hand forced to tolerate an inadequate system for so long and now has an unexpected yet significant cost to fund replacement of the boiler.
As we know this is a cost that can be ill-afforded by any school under this Government.
Expanding pupil numbers, depleting resources and burnt-out teachers are problems we hear of frequently in education. Couple this with catastrophic boiler failure and we’ve hit the perfect storm.
As parents, we should be demanding more for our children from our Government.
After all last summer schools were offered £7.1bn by Bojo and his chums, seemingly this is still not enough. When will they pay out what is needed?
Why was the school allowed to limp along with an aged system?
Pupil numbers have increased to capacity thanks to the vast house building nearby, yet capital investment into critical facilities hasn’t been met.
We are lucky it was a flood of the heating system and not an explosion, or perhaps a roof falling in on a classroom — all very real situations in the decrepit buildings some schools face.
The education of our children is being directly bitten by austerity.
The Government must provide safe and fit for purpose facilities and premises for our children to be educated in, or we may find ourselves with limited schooling hours.
As we know, some schools are forced to operate a reduced timetable to manage the budget deficit they face, four day timetables are on the up!
I was approached by several parents asking how they could help fund the boiler, but is this really where we have got to?
Parents now accepting that PTA cash goes to a replacing a heating system rather than school trips or sports equipment or art resources?
If we start going down this route where does it end, parents resurfacing the playground, re-wiring the art block?
The Government must fund schools in real terms and to meet local community growth.
It is hugely impressive how the head teacher and his team managed to source a suitable supplier to install and test a new system in a matter of days and over a weekend closing the school for two days. I once waited for three weeks for a local plumber to fit an outdoor tap.
So with the budget imminent, we hold our breath and hope we will be able to afford the big fat unexpected invoice. I seriously doubt it.
The new chancellor will be blowing hot air out of his fluepipe if talks about “record levels of school funding”.
A recent Ofsted survey found 42% of primary leaders and 48% of secondary leaders report they expect their schools to remain in debt for the year ending 2019/2020.
It is this that makes my blood boil. — Yours faithfully,