GRAYSWOOD Primary School will be forced to stay shut on the first day of term

next Monday and will reopen a week late, due to delays in completing its

transformative £2m expansion scheme.

Chairman of governors Fiona Tough sent a letter of apology to all parents this

week, which was also posted on the school website, in which she acknowledged the delay would cause “considerable” difficulties for many families but explained it was unavoidable.

Mrs Tough said: “We realise that this will impact significantly on every family

in our school community but we do not have any alternative as the school site

is not safe for our children to learn in, for our teachers to teach in, or our support staff to work in.

“The torrential downpours and delays in electricity and water connections

have meant that the building work will not be finished in time for the school to open as planned.”

Parents were informed that the head teacher Sally Bloomfield was trying to

secure educational provision for families that would suffer substantial difficulties with child care arrangements.

Mrs Tough added: “Taking the decision to delay the start of term is an exceptional move in exceptional circumstances.

“This is a defining moment for our whole school community, it will model our Christian values and distinctiveness and our high aspirations for each child in our remarkable school. We must all pull together and support Mrs Bloomfield and her entire staff as they work throughout the next two weeks setting up the entire school from a completely new starting point.

“If you are able to give any of your time during the day, in the evenings, or at

weekends to support the staff once they have access to the classrooms, Mrs

Bloomfield would be delighted to hear from you and we would all be

extremely grateful to you.

“We will update you each day by e-mail and on the school’s website. As a governing body we will make sure that we make ourselves available to meet with any of you if who would like to raise particular concerns.”

Summer downpours and delays in electricity and water connections were

blamed for pushing the project to provide four new classrooms, a large new

hall, two new libraries, a combined science, technology and art room, new toilets and a new kitchen, behind schedule.

The major building works funded by Surrey County Council to enable Grayswood to convert from infants to primary school status in order to meet

increased demand for places, had been set to finish on September 7.

The first day of term will now be a week later.

Concerned that water and electricity would not be connected in time, the governing body, in consultation with Mrs Bloomfield, diocesan director of education Derek Holbird and Surrey County Council, decided the only safe option was to delay re-opening.

Grayswood is in the process of converting to a full primary school and has

150 pupils due to start this term. The school will not be up to its full capacity of 210 pupils aged from four to 11 until September 2017.

Mrs Tough said: “It is deeply disappointing the building project hasn’t been able to finish on time. This is a scenario which could not have been anticipated and we have written to parents to express our deepest apologies.

“While acknowledging the considerable disruption to our families, we can’t

lose sight of the fact that many small infant schools are struggling to survive and we are absolutely delighted our village school has a secure and exciting future ahead. We look forward to offering children the very best education and opportunities when the new term begins.”

Mrs Bloomfield said: “The persistent summer downpours have created a mud bath and thrown what was already a tight schedule off track. My overriding

concern is for the safeguarding of all of the children and staff and currently our

school site is not safe.

“I have invited parent reps to visit the site with me so they could see for themselves what the issues are and have appealed to parents to join us if they can in getting the classrooms and school environment ready for the pupils.

“We will be keeping parents updated daily by teacher-to-parent text messaging, email and our website.

Members of the governing body and I will make ourselves available to meet

with any parents who would like to raise their particular concerns.

“All of our staff started back on Wednesday, and everyone will be working

hard to ensure that all of the children’s start to the new academic year is exciting and inspiring in our fantastic new building.

“I will also be working with Surrey County Council to discuss how we can

ensure that we catch up on any lost teaching time so no learning opportunities are missed this year.

“We are blessed with a wonderfully supportive community in the village of

Grayswood and my hope is that parents and the village as a whole will join me in looking ahead to what will undoubtedly be an exciting future for our outstanding church primary school.”