Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Legionnaires Bug Shuts Down School as Students Revise

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Legionnaires Bug Shuts Down School as Students Revise

Article excerpt

THE discovery of deadly bacteria in a water tank has thrown exam preparatio ns

for pupils at a London secondary schoolinto chaos.

Selsdon High School in Croydon was forced to shut before the Easter holidays after routine maintenance work uncovered legionella bacteria in heating and water systems shared with neighbouring Monks Hill Sports Centre.

Croydon council said today the school would have to remain shut until Monday at the earliest while engineers wait to see whether emergency treatment, including the installation of a replacement water tank, has eradicated the potentially lethal bacteria.

Selsdon's headteacher Janet Packer said: "Water samples taken from the sports centre and the school have been found to contain high levels of legionella bacteria.

"This does not mean there has been a legionella outbreak. However, it does mean there must be treatment of the heating and water systems.

These will then need testing to make sure the bacteria have been reduced to a safe level.

"I am sorry to say that all this means that the school must remain closed. We must put the health and safety of the staff and students above everything else." Some 188 Selsdon pupils who are due to take GCSEs in the next few weeks have been relocated to two other schools, John Ruskin and Gilbert Scott.

Fourteen-year-olds who are due to take national English, maths and science tests next month have been given work to do at home.

Ms Packer said: "I do know this is a crucial time for students taking their GCSEs and for those in years eight and nine doing Sats.

"I am working with the education department to make arrangements for these students to continue with their learning and revision for exams." Last year, 23 per cent of Selsdon's pupils scored five A* to C-grades at GCSE, including English and maths, putting the school fifth maths, putting the school fifth from bottom in Croydon's exams league table. …

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