Weekend work at flood school

3rd August 2007 at 01:00
Coursework lost in deluge has to be repeated out of normal classroom time

A HULL secondary swamped by the floods has been given a government grant to help teenagers catch up on lost coursework.

Seventy classrooms were under 4 foot of water as a whole year's GCSE coursework in art and design and technology was washed away at Sydney Smith school.

Kevin Beaton, head, said a grant of pound;250,000 from the Department for Children, Schools and Families would pay for weekend lessons next term so Year 11 students could produce replacement coursework.

"Our aim is to get things back to normal," Mr Beaton said. "The kids want to do well. Obviously a lot of them were cheesed off at the end of last term at having to do their coursework again, but they can see they've got to do it."

His staff are also trying to track down more than 200 pupils who failed to turn up for the last few weeks of term. The school remained open, though some staff and children were relocated to Hull university.

Mr Beaton said although attendance rates dropped by 15 to 20 per cent after the floods, he did not think most of the missing children were taking advantage of the disaster to play truant.

"Many of them may not have come back to school because their houses were flooded and they were displaced to other parts of the city," he said. "Our attendance team is trying to track them down." Mr Beaton said the walls of classrooms and offices were being rebuilt and 19 mobile classrooms would be needed for next term.

The school has been in special measures since autumn 2005. Ofsted inspectors were scheduled to visit the school just after the floods struck.

Mr Beaton said this had now been postponed until the end of the autumn term. Sydney Smith was the only school to receive an individual grant as the DCSF said how it was spending the pound;10 million it had promised to repair damaged schools in Hull, south Yorkshire and the east Midlands.

Hull city council is to receive pound;3.2 million, while the East Riding of Yorkshire is to get almost pound;1.5 million.

David Ledgard, head of Croxby primary, the worst hit school in the East Riding, said it would cost pound;1.5 million to rebuild the school and the work would not be finished until next summer.

Despite the dramatic cenes of flooding across Worcestershire, Ed Weeden, assistant director of children's services, said only three schools were seriously damaged and all would reopen in September.

"Although villages were completely cut off, most of our schools are on higher ground," he said.

Sydney Smith secondary in Hull took the worst flood battering of any school, it is believed, with 70 classrooms being inundated with 4ft of water. Mopping up the mess (top picture), a container of rescued work that staff managed to save (above), boxes of work piled high before the water swirled in (above right), and a crucifix was among teaching materials not damaged (right).

Photographs: James Glossop

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