School must rip out its 'unsafe' windows
Up to £50,000 will be spent on replacing windows at a newly-built Black Country primary school – amid fears they could injure children.
Staff have been forced to keep the windows shut at Barcroft Primary during lessons and break times due to concerns they open out on to the playground and pupils could run into them and hurt themselves.
Walsall Council has now agreed to replace the ground floor windows at the site in Elm Street, which opened less than three years ago.
They were installed as part of the new-look £8 million building, which was completed in 2011, and the replacement work comes following a school request.
A report from council asset manager Steve Law said: "The new accommodation was opened in September 2011 but when the school occupied the building they identified what they perceived to be a safety issue, with all low-level top hung windows opening outwards into the play areas from the classrooms raising concerns that pupils could run into the corners of the open casements.
"As a result of the above, and based on their risk assessment, the school have been operating a policy of having the windows closed during lessons and break times.
"As the building is naturally ventilated, this is clearly not good from an overheating, ventilation and learning environment perspective. There is clearly a perceived risk from the school's perspective."
He said other options included putting planters in place to deter children from going near the windows.
But the council will now look to replace all the low-level, top hung, open-out windows with horizontal sliding casements.
Walsall Council leader Mike Bird said: "At Barcroft we felt it was necessary. For health and safety reasons we are going to do it."
Albion Road Junior and Elm Street Infants merged to form Barcroft Primary in October 2005 but have continued to operate on two separate sites, until the new building was launched.
It comes as two other school sites will be sold off for housing developments to aid regeneration after getting the backing from council chiefs.
Lakeside Junior School and Clothier Street Junior Schools in Willenhall have been demolished and the sites will now be sold by Walsall Council to fund other education projects. One of the projects which could benefit from the proceeds of the sale is the planned remodelling of Rushall Primary School.
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