Dear Parents and Carers,
Update on heating and water supply problems at Workington Academy
I write to update you on the problems that we have been experiencing with our heating and water supply. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and patience with what has turned out to be quite a complex problem. The decision to close the school was not taken lightly and I apologise for the inconvenience that this has caused to our families.
The timeline of events is detailed below for your information. Our current position is that we will definitely be open for staff and Year 11, 12 & 13 students on Friday. I cannot yet confirm that we will be open for other year groups as engineering work is ongoing. Updates will be sent via text message, social media and posted on our website.
On Tuesday night, we noticed that some of the walls and ceilings in parts of the main building were extremely wet. Our site team investigated and were unable to identify the source of the problem. They called out our emergency plumbing and heating service engineers who were also unable to identify the source of the problem. The building was becoming increasingly damp and we were concerned about damage to the fabric of the building, the boilers and to electrical, computer and other systems. The engineers advised us to switch off the water supply and heating system.
Early on Wednesday morning, I met with site, engineering and trust staff to discuss a way forward. Our primary concern was and remains the health and safety of students and staff. As soon as it became clear that we would not have any water or heating on Wednesday, we notified parents that school would be closed to students and informed the local radio stations, social media and updated our website.
Engineers spent the day investigating possible causes and developed a working theory about significant hot water leakage from pipes beneath the main school building. Before they were able to examine the pipework, a number of safety checks had to be carried out. This is an old building that has been added to over a number of years and mapping out the ducting and pipework in the affected areas was a significant job.
It was evident by Wednesday afternoon that we would not be able to open for all students on Thursday but we could open for our examination year groups if we were able to source mobile heaters for classrooms.
Today, we have opened for all staff and for Year 11, 12 & 13 students. Sixth form students have followed their usual timetable and Year 11 students have studied English, Maths and Science. Damaged pipework is being repaired and tests will take place this afternoon to check for other leaks. There is a possibility that we may be able to open for all students on Friday but at this moment in time, I am unable to say for certain.
We will send text messages to parents and update our website and social media when we have a definite decision and that will be by 5pm today.
Thank you once again for your patience, support and understanding. We are working hard to rectify the problem and look forward to seeing all our students back in school as soon as possible.