Reading the newsletters from Kenmore Park School in Harrow makes depressing reading, as the list of problems stemming from the school expansion plan seems to be growing longer and longer. According to the school’s April newsletter:
During the holiday the school suffered an electrical surge which knocked out most of our systems. The surge affected the ICT systems, the phone, the internet and the heating controls. I did explain some of the problems to the children on Monday when we arrived back at school and I hope that some of the information filtered back to you. During the last week of the holiday we had a team of electricians on site checking everything and trying to repair the system.
Our main issue was the ICT systems. The electrical surge burnt out many of the component parts in the computers and as a result many, (about 40), of our computers are wrecked. We are currently using our ICT supplier to build new computers for the school but unfortunately this takes time. All of the office computers and most of the classroom computers were damaged…
The January newsletter hadn’t shared much good news either:
Hopefully this week will prove to be easier than last week which started off with the boiler breakdown. Just to let you know that we are also experiencing a lot of electrical problems. This is not dangerous but some of the fuses keep tripping out and we are currently getting a lot of electricians in to sort the problem out. Part of this was caused when they changed the meter during the Christmas holidays and the system needs to settle down.
Our correspondent also reports:
The project is still not completed despite being more than 6 months late. There was a serious electrical fault resulting in all the IT suite being off-line. The school estimate an insurance claim in excess of £100K for that alone. There are bare wires in ceilings and one in the playground. Apparently there is a tank under part of the playground that is supposed to absorb excessive rainfall – you can guess the result! No safety certificates have been provided so there is a serious health & safety concern.
The taps and fittings in the new toilets break repeatedly as they are of poor quality. The partitions between toilets are far too low to ensure privacy. The windows in the toilets are not obscured glass and the covering provided keeps peeling away. Apparently, there are regular “fountains” in the new toilets when the fittings fall apart. The toilet seats are of poor quality and are regularly broken.
In the playground, the railings are downright dangerous with sharp joins. The wooden fence is of a design that will mean that children can trap their heads or receive serious splinters. There is also a dangerous gap between the fence and a low wall in which nursery aged children could become trapped.
The external doors do not open or close properly and certainly fail to lock as intended. A serious security risk. The entrance has not even been started due to a technical problem. This has serious health & safety implications.
All of the new ceilings in corridors are grubby and do not fit properly. I also understand that it took more than six months to have a commercial tin opener fitted in the kitchen – the school purchased it, but the contractors failed to supply a fitter. The school said that they would arrange fitting at which a contractual dispute and threats of invalidating the guarantee ensued!
This isn’t, of course, the council’s first disaster in the school expansion programme – Marlborough School, in ex-leader Cllr Perry’s own back yard was similarly delayed. The Local Authority representative on the Governing Body? One Cllr Mitzi Green – Labour councillor for Kenton East. Parent should, perhaps, be demanding answers from the Governing Body.