Sunderland convent comes to aid of school closed from Raac concerns

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A Wearside convent has come to the aid of a primary school that has been able to open due to Raac concerns.

St John Bosco Catholic Primary School in Sunderland will be unable to open as planned on Tuesday 5 September after the building was deemed to be structurally unsafe.

Now, the school has been given a potential solution by the convent Sisters of Mercy, who have offered to loan their Gabriel House building for the children's learning.

School leaders are currently looking at the logistics of taking up the offer with an 11-mile round-trip for staff and up to 200 students required every day. The building also needs to be risk-assessed but education bosses have been keen to express their gratitude.

Brendan Tapping, Chief Executive of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust which runs the school, said: "We are exceptionally grateful. Sisters of Mercy have a long history of supporting children in the city of Sunderland.

"It is wonderful that they have stepped forward with the offer of Gabriel House for children of St John Bosco to ensure the continuity of face-to-face education as quickly as possible.

"It is something we are keen to explore. We are looking at the details at the moment but either way, we are very grateful for the offer from Sisters' of Mary."

The Sisters of Mercy said they were pleased to be able to help the school at the current time.

School children across the country may be unable to return to school this week due to RAAC concerns. Credit: PA

Religious sister Mary Adrienne said: "We are committed to education and are very happy to welcome St John Bosco Staff and pupils.

"Gabriel House had been loaned to St Anthony's Sixth Form but was vacated early this year. St John Bosco will be housed there until their own school is made structurally sound; the headteacher and staff will organise the transfer.

"Thank God we are able to help them at this worrying time."

Should St John Bosco's take up the offer, Year 1-6 would be housed in the building with separate provisions made for nursery and reception pupils.

Parents of children affected by the school's closure are urged to keep an eye on their emails for further updates.

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