Pupils at Harlow school ordered to shut to start new term in temporary classrooms

Sir Frederick Gibberd College in Harlow. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The majority of pupils affected by the shock closure of their secondary school will start the new academic year later than planned, and in temporary classrooms, it's been confirmed.

In letters sent to parents, seen by ITV News Anglia, leaders at Sir Frederick Gibberd College said Years 8 to 11 would remain at the site in Harlow where temporary accommodation is now being hastily built.

The school was ordered to shut with immediate effect this week due to safety concerns over the main building's structure, with Education minister Nick Gibb claiming that there were fears it could not withstand high winds or heavy snow.

In reaction to the closure, lessons will now be taught in "aluminium-framed spaces" which will include a full suite of classrooms, as well as windows, carpeted floors, and fully-functional IT equipment.

For these pupils, the new term will start on the week commencing September 11 - a week later than most other pupils around the country.

A copy of the letter, sent to parents. Credit: Sir Frederick Gibberd College

The local MP, Robert Halfon, also confirmed on Wednesday evening that construction would start "imminently" in order to meet the September deadline.

Year 7 pupils will be based at the nearby Mark Hall Academy from September 6, until mid-November - with a free bus service being provided to and from Sir Frederick Gibberd College at the beginning and end of each school day.

From November onwards, Year 7 pupils will join all other pupils back at Sir Frederick Gibberd College where temporary buildings of a "more substantial nature" will have been built.

In the letter, senior staff also went on to write that they were "all upset by this disappointing news" and wanted to use the opportunity to apologise again to parents for the "challenging situation, even though it is not of our making."

Another school, Buckton Fields Primary in Northampton, was also ordered to close this week after "structural irregularities" were found.

Both schools only opened in 2021 and were built by Caledonian Modular - a Newark-based contractor that went into administration in 2022.

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