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Ellowes Hall: Gornal school given a zero hygiene rating after its kitchen was found to have no hot water

By Richard Guttridge | Dudley | News | Published:

A secondary school in Dudley was ordered to take immediate action by food inspectors who uncovered poor cleaning standards in a kitchen which had no hot water.

Ellowes Hall

There was also no acceptable food safety management system in place when hygiene experts visited Ellowes Hall Sports College, in Lower Gornal, in March, which received a hygiene rating of zero.

Bin lids also presented potential ‘cross contamination’ risks, said Dudley Council inspectors who ordered them to be removed.

The standard of cleaning in the kitchen was described as ‘poor’, while school leaders were told staff needed to be trained how to operate a food safety management system.

The system was not in place at the time of the inspection, despite it having been requested by hygiene chiefs two years earlier. Ellowes Hall, which has around 1,000 pupils, said its kitchen had since been re-inspected and given a rating of four out of five. But the Liberal Democrats, who released the report, described conditions in March as ‘scandalous’.

On the day of the inspection the hot water supply to the kitchen was not working. A boiler and ‘large pan of water’ was available. The report raised concerns about the cleanliness of the kitchen. It said: “The standard of cleaning within the kitchen was poor.

“There were cobwebs at high levels and extensive areas of flaky paintwork within food preparation and/or storage areas. An in-depth clean must be carried out to the food rooms and periodic deep cleaning must be built into the food safety management system.”

The ‘cleaning of items’ in the kitchen, including a can opener, was said to be ‘unsatisfactory’, while dust was found on the fridge and in extract ventilation filters. Liberal Democrat Black Country campaigner Paul Butters said: “How can the Government allow students to eat a meal in a kitchen that an inspector gives a score of zero for? How can they not have hot water. It is utterly scandalous.” Headteacher Alan Jasper said: “Since Ellowes Hall took over the catering from the local authority, approximately six years ago, the school has always held a five-star rating.

“On March 30, 2017 the school was inspected and received zero rating. The issues raised in the report – which were not related to food hygiene, but structural issues, have all been/or are being addressed at a cost of over £10,000. Food preparation/hygiene has never been raised as an issue at Ellowes Hall. We have since been inspected again in September and awarded four stars (good).”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
@RichG_star

Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton

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