Parklands Primary School: MP calls for 'immediate evaluation' of buildings

Chichester MP Gillian Keegan has called for an ‘immediate evaluation’ of buildings at a Chichester school where the entire board of governors resigned recently.

The whole governing body of Parklands Community Primary School resigned last 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.

In a letter to the CEO of West Sussex County Council, Becky Shaw, Chichester MP Gillian Keegan called for an ‘immediate evaluation’ of the buildings at the school.

Mrs Keegan said she had be assured remedial works would be carried out but that having spoken to stakeholders ‘it is clear this has not been the case’.The letter read: “I am writing regarding the ongoing situation at Parklands Community Primary School.

Building works taking place at the school in 2017

“As you will be aware, the school continues to struggle with inadequate buildings and facilities.

“I first raised my concerns with West Sussex Council Council in 2019, and three years layer issues persist.

“In my last letter from the council, I was assured that remedial works were due to be carried out, however, from the correspondence I have received over recent days from the governing body of the school, its headteacher, and many parents, it is clear that this has not been the case.

“Such is the the strength of feeling, I have been informed that the entire governing body of the school has resigned in protest.

“I am aware the governing body, whilst in post, had requested that the council provide a statement to confirm that West Sussex Council Council is categorically confident that the school’s extension is safe for use in terms of the building’s structural integrity, fire safety, and all areas of day to day use as a primary school for children of mixed physical and academic ability.

“Therefore, I am writing to ask for an immediate evaluation of the buildings at the school, followed by a written confirmation as requested. Or, if this is not the case, immediate intervention to ensure the school estate meets the appropriate standards for children to be able to learn, and staff to feel comfortable teaching.”

A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said ‘significant progress’ has been made to resolve the issues.

They said: “We thank Gillian Keegan for her letter and have responded to explain that significant progress has been made to resolve problems previously identified with the extension at Parklands Primary School.

“We acknowledge that a large number of problems were discovered after the building was completed in 2017 by the contractor and we have carried out extensive work to resolve these, including replacing the cladding, ventilation and lighting systems, and continuing to monitor classroom temperatures. There remain two items of minor work outstanding, the painting of architraves and replacing light sensors, which are both being completed this week as scheduled.”

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