Denton's Russell Scott Primary School closes amid safety concerns

Russell Scott Primary School, Denton Image copyright Google
Image caption Russell Scott Primary School said pupils' safety was paramount

A primary school in Greater Manchester has closed until further notice amid "serious safety concerns" in the building.

Russell Scott Primary in Denton, Tameside, had had "significant defects" and did not comply with fire regulations, said the headteacher.

Steve Marsland said an assessment had ruled that the safety of pupils and staff was "compromised".

Tameside Council said it was "surprised and disappointed" by the closure.

'Matter of urgency'

Mr Marsland said the school had taken advice from architects and mechanical and electrical specialists before making the decision to close on Tuesday.

"It is their recommendation that immediate action is taken to redress these outstanding defects as a matter of urgency by the contractor responsible for the work," he said.

"This very difficult decision reflects the very serious nature of the concerns and the overriding objective of keeping your children safe."

One parent claimed pupils have missed 17 days in the past three years due to problems with new building work and refurbishment of the school buildings.

Clare Dawson said issues included a "suspected methane gas leak, raw sewage in classrooms and an uneven playground".

However, in a joint statement, Tameside Council and contractors Carillion plc said the school has "the necessary fire, building control and other certificates required by law and is insured to operate".

Image caption Andrew Gwynne MP wants to help resolve the situation

No discussions

It said neither the headteacher nor the governors had discussed the decision with them or "made us aware of any technical or professional advice, which states the school environment is unsafe and should be closed".

"Under no circumstances would we place pupils and staff in an unsafe environment," the statement said.

The council added that a fire assessment would be done later.

Andrew Gwynne MP for Denton and Reddish said he was "extremely concerned" about the closure and wanted any defects to be "rectified swiftly".

The Labour MP said he understood there was "an impasse between Carillion, Tameside Council and the school over the situation" and would try to bring all parties together to resolve it.

Some parents criticised the school for the short notice of the closure, after receiving text messages at 19:00 BST on Tuesday.

Governors responded by saying the school was in "an untenable position".