Flooded classrooms, cancelled Christmas shows - but devastated Doncaster school is bouncing back

Doncaster youngsters whose classrooms were devastated by floods look set to move into mobile buildings – three weeks after parts of their school were underwater.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 3:19 pm

Castle Hills Primary School was left partially submerged after the devastating floods which hit the borough following torrential rainfall on on Thursday November 7, which also left homes flooded in parts of Doncaster as rivers overflowed.

Staff turned in from 6am with wellingtons and waterproofs to try to save the school the next day, but it was initially completely closed fully in the aftermath.

The older pupils at the school have been re-located to the sixth-form block at Don Valley School since last week as the clean-up work at the school started, with the younger children moving up to the key stage two classrooms, which remained dry.

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Hannah Thornton, Sarah McBride, Riana Nelson outside flooded Castle Hills Primary School, in Scawthorpe. Submitted picture. Doncaster Council
Hannah Thornton, Sarah McBride, Riana Nelson outside flooded Castle Hills Primary School, in Scawthorpe. Submitted picture. Doncaster Council

Don Valley Academy principal Hannah Thornton, offered the the use of the sixth form block for the Castle Hills pupils and staff for as long as they needed.

But the school now says it hopes to move the youngsters to the temporary buildings at the back of the key stage two buildings at the start of next week, with work having been ongoing to install them in the grounds over the last week.

It re-opened with its current temporary accommodation arrangements last week.

Officials at Doncaster Council expect it to be January or February before the school is in a position to move pupils back into the classrooms that were flooded.

Staff, governors and pupils at Castle Hill Primary School. Submitted picture from Doncaster Council

But the school has also been forced to cancel some of its Christmas production arrangements for its lower school because of the flooding to its rooms

Headteacher Sarah McBride told parents: “We realise this will be upsetting for many pupils who had already begun to learn their lines and consider their costumes.

“In true spirit of the festive period, we couldn’t let Christmas go by without celebration, therefore all lower school pupils will be joined by the KS2 Choir in a rousing carol concert.”

Miss McBride added: “The impact of the flood has been significant having suffered substantial losses across Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. The response from the community and neighbouring schools has been overwhelming. We are humbled by the donations and offers of support.

Sarah McBride, Hannah Thornton and Castle Hill Academy pupils at Don Valley School. Picture submitted from Doncaster Council

“School staff are to be commended on their stalwart attitude and commitment to ensuring that the children of Castle Hills can return to their education at the earliest opportunity."Staff from Doncaster Council have also been busy supporting Castle Hills with the clean up, repairs and refurbishment.

The school was able to partly re-open last week with its youngest pupils relocating to Key Stage two classrooms and the oldest pupils using the temporary accommodation at Don Valley Academy.

Riana Nelson, director of learning, opportunities and skill at Doncaster Council, said: “The sterling work of the schools is another example of the tremendous community spirit and the care and compassion that have shone through in extremely difficult circumstances. “Our staff have been at Castle Hills supporting the school during the week and our work on the repairs and refurbishment are ongoing so that Castle Hills can fully reopen at the earliest opportunity.”

Meanwhile, parents have opened up a crowd funding appeal to raise money for the school.

Rose Dawson, from Woodlands, set up the appeal after hearing about what had happened at Castle Hills, and how staff at the school had gone in over the weekend after the flood to start the clear up.

She said: “My children go to Woodlands Primary, but I wanted to do something to help. I’d like to think if me children’s school had been flooded, people would help.”

Parents of Castle Hills pupils are among those who have donated.

Mum Stacey Turner said: “My children’s school, Castle Hills, has been badly damaged by the floods inside and out. Wanted to help contribute towards replacing damaged equipment. This school Is fab and the staff put a lot of time and effort in so let’s get the school back to how it was for the staff and the children.”

And Jessica Bond, added: “This is a great school. My children attend. I want to get it back up and running and show my support.”

Measures which saved homes from flood: pages 8 and 9