A primary school where students had to wade through raw sewage and inhaled toxic fumes after a £2.7 million refurbishment may have to be demolished.
Russell Scott Primary School in Denton, Greater Manchester, was plagued with a number of problems over the years after the construction group Carillion completed work on the school in 2015.
In the months following the catastrophic renovation, schoolchildren had to be evacuated from classrooms were flooded with raw sewage and the playing field, now littered with rubble, craters and hazardous material, was cordoned off.
The Tameside school, which had to close six times due to construction problems, also failed fire safety checks.
Now headteacher Steve Marsland, 62, has said the 19th-century building may have to be completely demolished and rebuilt after its failed renovation six years ago.
Russell Scott Primary School in Denton, Greater Manchester, has flooded its classrooms with raw sewage
The primary school had to be closed six times due to construction problems following a £2.7 million refurbishment by the construction group Carillion
He said the year after the construction work was completed, working visits dropped from 95 percent to 60 percent due to illness from sewer fumes.
He told The mirror: ‘Five years since construction was completed, some children have never sat on the grass in their entire school life.
“They had to be evacuated because of sewage gas, paddle through sewage as the rain pours in, and were sent home because of flooding. You name it, they’ve had to endure it.’
He added: “People who see it are absolutely stunned. It’s like a war zone. The clowns who built the building have turned it into a place not suitable for children.’
Headteacher Steve Marsland, 62, said 19th-century building may need to be completely demolished
Mr Marsland also said he found that the building did not meet fire regulations on the first day the children returned to the school after the renovation in 2015.
He told the Manchester Evening News: ‘On the first day we got back to school, we found out that the building did not meet the fire regulations.
“The children have been sent home several times for all kinds of problems with the building, from floor to ceiling.”
Despite never having problems with flooding, the school has been flooded six times since the renovated building opened.
The school also had sewage leaks, which Mr Marsland said was due to the old sewerage system remaining in place despite the renovated school being larger than the old building, while a new ‘hyper-efficient’ energy system also eventually closed the school. cost an expense. additional £30,000.
Mr Marsland said: ‘The contractor said everything was fine as we were flooded and even tested for explosive levels of sewer gas.
“Sewage got into the classrooms, we had to evacuate the building because we were paddling in the dirt.
“Since then, we’ve had numerous closures for various non-compliance with building codes, fire regulations and six floods.
‘We continuously monitor the building. As soon as it rains, the sandbags appear.
‘We were flooded again at the beginning of the summer – every time it rains hard, the school is flooded. It costs tens of thousands of pounds to replace raw materials.
“It just goes from bad to worse, and we just don’t know what’s around the corner.”
The playing field was cordoned off after it was left with debris, craters and hazardous materials
After the renovation, the school was closed six times due to flooding
Local Labor MP and former Russell Scott pupil, Andrew Gwynne, has raised the issues affecting the school in the House of Commons
Carillion was the company operating Russell Scott Primary School in Denton from 2013 to 2015 – just over two years before it went bankrupt.
The Tameside Council has had the school examined by experts and Mr Marsland said it could now be cheaper to completely demolish and rebuild the school.
Mr Marsland added: ‘All the reports from structural engineers, architects, various experts – they have come to the same conclusion that it is not worth putting another patch on it.
“Building a new school would cost millions of pounds, on top of the millions of pounds it cost for this building.
‘It’s not just our school that was left like this [by Carillion].
“There are other buildings in Tameside and across the country, and it’s public money.
“We’re not the healthiest area, we’re in north Denton with a diverse population and 30 percent of the kids get free school meals. This comes from our taxes – rectifying what the contractors have rudely done to us.’
Local Labor MP and former Russell Scott pupil, Andrew Gwynne, has also raised the issues affecting the school in the House of Commons.
He told Education Secretary Gavin Williamson that repairs for the school have cost around £670,000 to date and that a further £5million would be needed.
Mr Gwynne added: ‘Even then Tameside Council is not convinced the building will be repaired. It’s serious.’
Baroness Berridge, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for the School System, is now meeting with Mr Gwynne to discuss Russell Scott’s problems.
A Tameside Council spokesperson said: ‘Following the completion of a £2.7 million refurbishment of Russell Scott Primary school in 2015, the school, community and council have been disappointed after the works carried out by Carillion were found to be of poor quality. to be.
“The council has worked closely with Russell Scott Primary School and will continue to work closely to ensure immediate and corrective action was taken so that there is no risk to pupils and staff.
‘The council has sought advice from the Ministry of Education (DfE) on possible solutions, as the allocation of school conditions is unlikely to cover the costs of solving the problems.
“Unfortunately, there are no immediate funding solutions, but officials will continue to work with the DfE’s Complex Projects team to address the apparent funding gap.”