The Southend SEN Trust and council are continuing to work together with the Department for Education (DfE) to get pupils back into education at Kingsdown School.
On Thursday last week, the Government announced that a number of schools nationwide had to close due to the presence of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC), which was used in building construction between the mid-1950's and mid-1990’s.
Contingency measures have been worked on since, to ensure children can get back into the classroom as soon as possible, with families also being supported by the school, trust and the council in the meantime.
Louise Robinson, headteacher of Kingsdown School, says: “Since we found out last Thursday that the school had to close, we have been working night and day with the council to put immediate support in, and focus on getting kids back into school.
“The fact that we are a specialist school with many specific requirements makes this task doubly hard, but we have a brilliant staff team who have been committed to getting contingency plans into place and are part of a wonderful city community where offers of help have been flowing in regularly.
“Through support and hard work we are hopeful that the delay to the start of the new academic year is only a short one. We have some classrooms which are unaffected, so once we are told we can safely access the vital equipment in the main building, we can put in place temporary measures to allow students back to school sooner rather than later. This won't fix the RAAC issue with the main building, but our priority is to get the children back to school.
“I want to personally thank the parents and pupils of the school for their patience and understanding, and my own staff across the trust and school, and also council colleagues who have worked hard to get into this more positive position quickly.”
Cllr Helen Boyd, cabinet member for children and learning spoke of the support put into place by the council since last week, saying: “Since Thursday, our children's social care teams have worked quickly to immediately contact those most in need of support to judge their immediate needs and discuss any concerns.
“This week the team are contacting those who access the short breaks service. Any family receiving social care and in need will be offered a package of support whilst we work with the school and DfE to get contingency arrangements into place and children back into school, which I am pleased to see is progressing well already.”