Letter re: Atrium roof and repairs at West Kidlington

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13th September 2016

Dear Mr Isherwood

Re: Atrium Roof

As you are aware, the school was closed and pupils sent home on the morning of Tuesday 6th September 2016, just two days into the new term. The reason for this was the partial collapse of the glazed atrium roof by reception.  Structural engineers attended site along with staff from Oxfordshire County Council and in discussions with the school it was decided that the safest option was for pupils and school staff to stay off-site during the initial investigation period.

We know the closure has been upsetting and disruptive for parents and children, and every effort has been made to enable reopening as swiftly as possible. Temporary buildings have been delivered, scaffolding has been erected and further structural investigations have taken place. There is still a lot of work to do, but we have now created a separate zone for the construction works – meaning the school can reopen safely.

The glass atrium roof is a relatively new structure, and although there have been some issues in the past with leaks, work had taken place to address these and the partial collapse was not foreseen. Work is now underway to install scaffolding to allow the remains of the roof to be safely removed. Once this is done, a survey will be undertaken to allow a flat roof with roof lights to be put in place as a permanent replacement. Following this, there will be no further work required to the area.

While a “quick fix” temporary roof could have been put in place, it was decided that a permanent solution with a slightly longer construction period was better to guard against any further disruption in the future.  The classroom immediately adjacent to the atrium area has been taken out of use to ensure pupil safety during the works – there are no issues with the roof in this area.

The atrium roof over the hall is constructed in a similar fashion to the atrium over the reception area. It has been inspected by engineers and there are currently no issues with this roof. However, it has been decided as a precautionary measure that this will also be removed to ensure that the future safety of the pupils and staff will not be affected. This will also be replaced with a permanent flat roof and roof lights. Unfortunately this means that the hall and the kitchen will have to remain out of use while this work is completed. The corridor along the side of the hall has been boarded off securely to allow access routes and fire escape routes around the school to remain safe. Again, every effort will be made to minimise disruption while this work is carried out.

Once the initial assessment of the collapsed roof was complete, structural engineers inspected the remainder of the buildings on site.  All buildings remain safe, and it was also noted that the timber classrooms that currently house Y5 and Y6 are now reaching the end of their useful life. Whilst the deterioration is as expected, some propping has been installed as a precautionary measure. Discussions are underway relating to the replacement of these classrooms.

We hope that this answers some of the questions you may have had regarding the buildings at West Kidlington.  Your patience and tolerance during the last, very difficult, week has been appreciated and we would like to reassure you that we are working as fast and hard as possible to return the school to full use as soon as possible.  We anticipate that this will be possible once children return to school after the October half term.

Yours sincerely

Adrian Rowlands

Service Manager Property Procurement

Email:  Adrian.rowlands@oxfordshire.gov.uk