Schools are resorting to fundraising after the barrage of recent storms caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage.
Schools were forced to close as heavy rain, snow and 100 mile-per-hour winds from storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin ripped across the country.
Leaders warned that the destruction “could have been deadly” had the closures not been put in place.
One school suffered more than £40,000 worth of damage after the storms destroyed its roof and flooded two classrooms.
While the cost of most repairs will be covered by insurance, classroom displays, decor and books might not be covered.
Fundraising for ‘things that make a classroom a home’
Storm Eunice destroyed the outdoor learning area at St Andrew’s CE Primary School in Weymouth on Friday. The area was built 18 months ago and cost £12,000.
Sam Harris, the headteacher, said that the damage “could have been deadly” if the school had not closed after a rare “red” wind warning from the Met Office.
The school has already paid £1,400 to have the debris cleared, with total repairs expected to exceed £10,000.
While the money will be claimed on insurance, Harris said the school would launch a fundraiser to complement the insurance payout and rebuild a “sturdier structure”.
Coates Lane Primary School in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, has also launched a GoFundMe campaign after storms over the weekend caused the roof in its Year 3 classroom to collapse and ruined teaching material and equipment.
Headteacher Sarah White said that repairing the “horrific” damage could cost more than £10,000.
Insurance will cover the bulk of the costs, but the school is fundraising for the “little things that make the classroom a home”, such as decorations and books outside the normal curriculum.
It has already raised more than £1,700.
New £19,000 biodome torn apart
In Essex, Boreham Primary School’s £19,000 biodome was picked up by Storm Eunice and left in tatters after colliding with a fence. All of the vegetables and plants inside the dome were lost. Phone lines were also down at the start of the week due to storm damage.
The biodome was unveiled in 2020 to teach pupils about sustainability and the school is working with its insurers to replace it.
At Northampton School for Boys a large lime tree was toppled by strong winds on Monday, crushing one car and damaging three more.
Richard Bernard, the headteacher, said the tree caused “considerable material damage” but no one was injured. As a “further precaution” the remaining trees on the school site were inspected.
Ormiston Chadwick Academy, in Cheshire, was forced to evacuate its gym on Friday after the top layer of the roof was blown off. The school is on half-term this week but community access has been cancelled while repairs take place.
Heavy rains were ‘like a tap running’
At Ranby House School in Retford strong winds from Storm Eunice ripped the roof off one classroom block on Friday and two classrooms were flooded.
The damage resulted in the flooding of two classrooms at the independent primary school.
David Thorpe, headteacher of the independent private school, said: “The roof’s gone and we’ve had copious amounts of rain. It was like a tap running, there was a constant flow of water.”
Just under 40 pupils across the two classes have had to be relocated as the rooms are deemed unsafe.
Electrics in the rooms need to be removed, as do large portions of the ceiling to avoid further collapse caused by water damage. Repairs could exceed £40,000.
Schools turn to their insurers
All schools contacted by Schools Week were in the process of claiming against their insurance to cover the costs of the damage.
The Association of British Insurers said that “cover for storm damage is an integral part of buildings insurance and this would apply to schools”.
Tilda Watson, head of education at Zurich Municipal, added that while “three storms in a matter of days is quite extreme”, these events are part of “normal policies”.