Staff and pupils were 'resilient' after Northampton floods, says head

Refurbishment work is taking place in the sixth form centre. This area will be carpeted and operational for the sixth form open evening on January 24.
Refurbishment work is taking place in the sixth form centre. This area will be carpeted and operational for the sixth form open evening on January 24.

Staff and pupils have pulled together at Caroline Chisholm School after flooding from a nearby brook damaged 39 of their rooms.

Back in May nearly 40 rooms - including classrooms, offices and 'multi-use' rooms - at the secondary phase of Caroline Chisholm School in Wooldale Road were hit by flash floods from a nearby brook.

This picture shows the school just hours after the flash flooding hit the town last year.

This picture shows the school just hours after the flash flooding hit the town last year.

All classrooms on the lower level of blocks B, C, D and E were left waterlogged, including the sixth form centre.

READ MORE: Northampton school and sixth form centre might not open after half term due to floods

Now, 20 classrooms are back up and running eight months on after a full revamp, and children are making good use of 'break-out' spaces, between corridors, for their IT lessons.

Head teacher David James said: "Students and staff coped really well in the initial stages as it was all about working together to get things sorted.

The teaching 'break out space' is being used now more than ever as an IT suite.

The teaching 'break out space' is being used now more than ever as an IT suite.

"I think students saw it as a bit of an adventure – being taught in different places across the school. Staff likewise – just got on with it. Staff in areas that were not affected helped staff in areas where there had been floods."

For three months the school library had been used as a staff room and a significant amount of text books and exercise books were damaged in the water and all of the wooden furniture has been replaced.

Mr James added: "Although it was difficult seeing work and resources damaged, I think at the time everyone was too busy to really let it play on them.

"Soon after the flood – the affected areas were closed off to the staff and students so, in a way, most staff could not see the devastation.

"We are getting there as a school – we now have two completed refurbished blocks that are as good as new. We can see that the work in the remaining blocks is proceeding and everyone is really focused on getting on with their work."

In an email to parents last year Mr James said the flood water was not contaminated with sewage water and there was no direct health and safety risk from using the upper floors and all of A block, whilst the lower floors were being fixed.

The art department and design and technology block are expected to be fully functioning in May after refurbishment is complete and the sixth form centre should be operational by January 24 for an open evening.

Hundreds of homes and businesses in the town were also flooded when localised flash floods hit on Sunday, May 27. More than a month’s rain fell in one hour as 62mm of rain was recorded.

READ MORE: A dozen flooding probes to be launched after bank holiday devastation in Northampton

READ MORE: Looking back at the floods that hit Northampton in 2018