Entire board of governors resign from Chichester school

The board of governors at a Chichester school has resigned following a dispute with the county council.

Building works taking place at the school back in 2017. Picture by Steve Robards
Building works taking place at the school back in 2017. Picture by Steve Robards

The whole governing body of Parklands Community Primary School resigned on Friday (July 15) due a major dispute between the school and West Sussex Council Council over a number of building concerns which have not been actioned by the county council.

West Sussex County Council commissioned a new building for Parklands School six years ago to facilitate the move to Parklands becoming a larger Primary School – a number of concerns were raised over the building including cladding which fell off the building as well as other ‘significant faults’.

In a statement issues today (Tuesday, July 19), the governors said: “The school, supported by the Governing Body have diligently reported all faults, design issues and failures often repeatedly to West Sussex County Council. The Governing Body have stood side by side the Leadership Team to repeatedly request repair of numerous and often significant faults and failures with the building.

“Some of these will have been more visible, such as the several months of scaffolding around the building when part of the exterior cladding fell off the building, others would not have been.

“Further to a recent review of certain parts of the school by a third party, reported to West Sussex County Council in March, and after lack of response by the council, failure to complete all requested repairs and lack of reporting and validation of any work done, the governing body were forced to write on July 8 to West Sussex County Council in simply requesting a statement ensuring the safety of the building from West Sussex County Council as the landlord of the building.

“West Sussex County Council has not provided this statement in the timeframe requested.

“Because West Sussex County Council have been unable to provide this statement within the timescale requested, the governing body are unable to fulfil their duties in ensuring the safety of the 430 pupils, and 70 adults who use the school building.

“This position follows an entirely unreasonable period of more than six years where throughout the build the provision of adequate project management, health and safety provision, due care to the wellbeing of school employees of West Sussex County Council and the poor spend and monitoring of spend of public funds on a public building, have not been adequate for a project of this scale in a children’s learning environment.

“The Governing Body cannot state firmly enough that they are absolutely confident in the leadership of the school in being able to provide the day-to-day operational excellence to provide a safe environment where this is not compromised by many ongoing build related issues. All questions relating to this decision should be directed to West Sussex County Council.”

A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said: “The extension building at Parklands Primary School has been in use since being completed in 2017. We acknowledge there were a number of issues from the initial build which we have worked with the contractor and the school to address over time.

“We are working to ensure the governance of Parklands Primary School is secure until a new governing body is appointed.”