Extra time off for south Norfolk schoolchildren

Hundreds of children in south Norfolk were granted an extended winter holiday this week after a number of schools were closed as a result of heating problems.

Hundreds of children in south Norfolk were granted an extended winter holiday this week after a number of schools were closed as a result of heating problems.

Pupils had been due to return to school on Tuesday following the Christmas and New Year break.

However, the headteachers of five primary schools were forced to shut classrooms as a result of the freezing temperatures and a shortage of heating oil.

One of them - Banham Community Primary School - was closed after thieves siphoned the school's oil tank during the festive period.


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Staff returned to the school, in Crown Street to discover the theft of about 1,000lts of heating oil, which has been reported to Norfolk police. A new delivery of heating oil was made to the south Norfolk school on Tuesday.

Pupils from the reception, year 1 and 2 classes at Morley Primary School were told to stay at home on Tuesday and Wednesday after the main school building ran out of heating oil. A new delivery of oil was due to be made yesterday.

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Headteacher Linda Cullum said lessons would continue for older children at the school's three mobile classrooms.

'We have an intelligent heating system that stops the main building freezing up and it used all the oil up during the Christmas holiday,' she said.

Pulham Primary School was shut on Tuesday because it ran out of heating oil, but returned to normal yesterday.

Hempnall Primary School was closed to junior classes because of no heating in the mobile classrooms and Scole Primary School had run out of propane to heat its building.

Another school - Dickleburgh Primary - closed yesterday as a result of a heating failure.

Kate Gooding of Norfolk County Council, said the 'very cold winter' was having an impact on schools across Norfolk.

'Headteachers endeavour to keep schools open wherever possible and have to take into account the health and safety of pupils when making any decisions to close their school.'

'We do advise schools to use the frost setting on their boilers during the Christmas and February half-term holidays to prevent any breakdown in the heating system. However, the prolonged cold spell has meant some schools have needed to use more fuel than usual and do not now have sufficient fuel to maintain their heating systems.'

'Individual schools are responsible for making sure that their fuel supply is adequate, but some have been affected by the unusually cold winter,' she said.

Anyone with information about the Banham Primary School heating oil theft, which happened December 18 and January 2, is asked to contact the Attleborough Safer Neighbourhood Team on 0845 456 4567.

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