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Schools forced to close over water shortages

Children having to learn at home as South East Water blames 'very high demand' for tap water

Children having to learn at home as South East Water blames 'very high demand' for tap water

Hundreds of children have been learning from home after heatwave water shortages forced at least five schools in parts of Sussex to close.

South East Water blamed the problems, also affecting Kent, on “very high demand” for tap water. The schools either have no water or low pressure. Households were also asked to use water only for cooking, cleaning and hygiene.

Rotherfield Primary School, in Crowborough, closed to its 213 pupils at Monday lunch and still hadn’t reopened by Thursday morning as water pressure was “significantly lower” than needed.

Children were given work to complete at home, with the school considering live online lessons if the problem persisted.

Kate Bishop, headteacher, said there’s been “no real indication” when the situation will resolve, adding: “There is a sense of frustration now.”

Beacon Academy’s sixth form centre also remained closed on Thursday after moving year 12 and 13 students to its main secondary school site at 11.30am on Monday.

Students have still been able to sit their exams and no children are remote learning, head of school Keith Slattery said.

“We have rigorous and robust contingency plans… we are hoping this comes to an end soon,” he added.

Two other schools Mark Cross Church of England Primary School and Wadhurst Church of England Primary School in East Sussex were also closed on Wednesday, according to East Sussex County Council’s website.

Sacred Heart independent school in Wadhurst was able to reopen at 1pm on Thursday after receiving bottled drinking water and water to enable flushing of toilets from the water company.

After a scorching summer last year, schools were told to prepare for “extreme heat” as part of emergency planning in updated government guidance.

Nick Bell, South East Water’s incident manager, said “we are doing all we can to restore supplies”.

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