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'It was frightening': Headteacher reveals damage left by Tipton flood

By Jamie Brassington | Tipton | Education | Published:

A headteacher has spoken of the shocking moment his playground was flooded - as staff were forced to evacuate pupils to safety.

Headteacher David Rowe inside the flood damaged part of Tipton Green Junior School

Tipton Green Junior School was left underwater after a water pipe burst underneath nearby Park Lane West on Monday afternoon.

Teachers jumped into action and led pupils to the first floor as water surrounded the school, before evacuating them through the adjoining Silvertrees Academy Infants School.

WATCH: Burst main floods school, street and homes

Tipton burst water main: Extent of damage revealed

It comes after gallons of water poured out into the area, flooding people's homes and causing a house to partially collapse.

Headteacher David Rowe said the flood could have proved much worse for his pupils.

"We were just so thankful actually," said Mr Rowe. "I mean this happened at around 2pm, roughly.

A cracked water pipe

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"If it would have happened at the end of the school day, a lot of our children actually walk past that house and that main (water pipe location) on the way home, if it would have happened then, it would have been terrible."

The school was closed until Thursday - due to classrooms being flooded by water - and it only partially reopened yesterday for students in Years 5 and 6.

Meanwhile Year 3 and 4 students are due to return on Monday as their classrooms remain damaged.

Workmen clear up the site

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Contractors have been on site this week repairing the flooded classrooms.

Wet carpet tiles have been removed while electric fans have been used to dry classrooms and corridors.

Staff used furniture as make-shift barriers to try and stop the flooding, with wet pillows still stacked outside one classroom.

Recalling the alarming events on Monday, from his first-floor-office, headteacher Mr Rowe, said: "At first it was sought of amazement at what was happening, really.

The school's flooded playground on Monday

"One of the staff came in and said 'have you seen the water?' He had just gone to drop some children off at the swimming pool.

"We looked out the window and you could see the water flowing down the road, and wheelie bins floating down the road, and water flowing down onto the playground.

"My first thought was keeping the children safe, and I thought at least we can take them upstairs onto the first floor.

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"And then the fire service came and advised us. As it was, the school was surrounded by water. We realised we wouldn't be able to get off the premises at that point.

"But luckily we managed to take all the children through to Silvertrees School, which is joined to us, and they were able to exit from there and parents were able to pick them up.

"But it was quite frightening to see how quickly the water started filling the playground up without actually coming into the classrooms.

"Obviously once the children had left us, and we knew they were safe, the concern was the damage caused."

Workmen have been clearing up the playground

Six classrooms and a number of other rooms were flooded while a path to the school was damaged.

Today, school staff were meeting with parents of Year 4 students to discuss options for temporary accommodation.

There is a possibility students could be taught at nearby Silvertrees Academy Infants School on Monday, as their classrooms are still damaged from the flood.

While the flood waters have subsided, disruption is ongoing with Park Lane West due to remain closed until October 25.

South Staffs Water are carrying out repairs to the road while the organisation has opened an investigation into the events on Monday.

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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