Northampton secondary school sixth form reopens after flood damage

Head girl Emma Peel and head boy Hughie Johns pictured cutting the ribbon with head teacher David James. Picture: Kirsty Edmonds.
Head girl Emma Peel and head boy Hughie Johns pictured cutting the ribbon with head teacher David James. Picture: Kirsty Edmonds.

Caroline Chisholm School staff and students are celebrating their first day back in their sixth form area after it reopened following the May bank holiday floods last year.

In total, 39 classrooms on the lower level of the secondary school and sixth-form area were affected by the flooding from a nearby brook and irreplaceable pupil artwork was destroyed.

The refurbished sixth form area - as well as IT suite and art room - were officially reopened today.

The refurbished sixth form area - as well as IT suite and art room - were officially reopened today.

On Wednesday (March 13) sixth-formers settled back into the revamped sixth form area, art room and computing suite after working in the canteen and school hall for 10 months.

Headteacher David James found out about the flooding through the school caretaker and was called at home after being warned of the extensive damage to the school.

He said: "Even when we came in and saw the extent of the flooding it didn't really sink in.

"We've been using the main hall as the student study centre, which meant we couldn't use that facility for assemblies in the morning and we've also used the canteen as well.

This picture shows the aftermath of the flash flooding at the school in Wooldale Road.

This picture shows the aftermath of the flash flooding at the school in Wooldale Road.

"The sixth-form centre is the real heart of the school it's like a university area. To have them in the hall wasn't good for them or the younger students as well. It's good to have the study centre back - they're very excited."

After the floods struck the school over the bank holiday it remained under a vast amount of water, which seeped into the structure.

Workers had to grind down the damp floor and relay it before covering it with a damp proof membrane, which Mr James said: "cost a significant amount of money to get it fixed."

"The biggest damage was to the art department.

"We've lost a lot of artwork," he said.

"With things like paper and textbooks we can replace those but things like student art and design technology work it’s personal work by the students that's irreplaceable really.

"We've got over it and we've dealt with it and luckily the insurance is quite comprehensive."

Other students have had to work in 20 mobile classrooms situated in the tennis courts, and design and technology students are having their lessons at Elizabeth Woodville School in Roade.

Although the sixth form area is a like-for-like refurbishment, the food technology room will be replaced with a high-specification catering area, fitted with stainless steel equipment.

The school still has 13 classrooms out of use and is anticipating to get them up and running in May - about a year after the flooding took place.