Saved from flood by the sack race

29th June 2007 at 01:00
Staff fill sports day bags with play sand

A SCHOOL has been saved from floods - by a sack race. Hessian sacks bought for sports day were filled with sand and piled up at Garforth Green Lane primary in Leeds to keep rising water at bay.

The playground was already under water when Hazel Willis, the head, and her teachers swung into action as water threatened.

Sand trays were emptied. More sand came from a nearby building site. And the sack barrier kept damage to a minimum after 4 inches of rain fell on parts of Yorkshire in 24 hours, the heaviest on record.

Ms Willis said: "The playground was like a swimming pool. Staff were filling up sandbags and were on mop duty and wet-vac duty. They all went well above and beyond the call of duty." Garforth Green Lane was not alone.

Nine schools in Leeds, 47 in Sheffield, 23 in Barnsley, and many others were affected.

At Beechwood primary in Leeds staff were recruited to mop up corridors and dry off school equipment. John Beckett, the head, said: "There was debris to clear out and books to wipe off. It was a wartime spirit." Schools were also affected by the disruption to transport networks, including the closure of sections of the M1.

But other pupils had no choice about whether or not to attend. Many GCSE and A-level candidates were forced to travel across flooded roads in order to sit their exams in otherwise closed schools.

For Hazel Willis, too, the impact of the flood will continue. "We have sports day next week," she said. "Not many people make sacks any more and it took us a long time to find ours. Now we need to find some more."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today