St Aloysius 11th June

The following article appeared in the Islington Tribune on 11th June 2010 (link)

Strike teachers’ ‘backing’

Union say inspector’s report confirms teachers’ fears over safety

Published: 11 Juhne, 2010

UNION leaders claim an independent inspector  who was brought in after teachers staged a wildcat strike last month has confirmed fears over the condition of new buildings at St Aloysius school.

A leaked copy of the inspector’s report, seen by the Tribune, warned of the dangers of L-shaped design and technology classrooms and said there were “serious concerns” about the proximity of equipment to desks in “a very restricted space”.

The Tribune reported in May how up to 50 teachers held children in the playground for a whole morning claiming renovation building work had left their school unsafe.

They are now balloting on strike action over conditions at St Aloysius, which is undergoing a £17million makeover under the old Labour government’s Building Schools for the Future investment scheme.

They want contractors Balfour Beatty to hold off demolishing an older building until they are happy with the new one.

In his report the inspector points out the dangers of students using tools in small, L-shaped classrooms.

He singles out the technicians’ room for lack of space, overcrowding of equipment, and no storage facilities and questioned “inadequate storage” in the science and art departments.

Headteacher Tom Mannion said the school was aware that there were issues but that he would pursue these “through the normal channels”. Islington National Union of Teachers assistant secretary Ken Muller said: “The report corroborates concerns identified by school staff.”

Islington’s schools chief Councillor Richard Watts said: “The school has new buildings that meet all regulations and criteria for new schools and are based on plans that the school signed off. There are issues about how those rooms are managed. The position of the equipment is the school’s job.”

A spokeswoman for Balfour Beatty said: “We, as part of the Local Education Partnership, employed a construction (design and management) regulations co-ordinator, who managed the safety matters with the design team and the school itself. The detailed design including internal layouts, has been developed, working closely with school representatives, by our professional design team including an architect. In developing the design we have met and delivered the council’s requirements.”