Teachers unable to access equipment to teach lessons from home after asbestos

TEACHERS have been unable to collect equipment from a school after the discovery of asbestos leaving pupils without lessons for the second week running.

Year 7 – 11 pupils at the King Edmund School are having to complete work using the school’s online Show my Homework platform as teachers are incapable of hosting online video conference lessons as they during Covid lockdowns.

The school, which teaches more than 1,500 pupils, was closed last Tuesday after the discovery of traces of asbestos in the demolition area of an old building that was bulldozed in May.


The DfE contacted the school late on Monday, November 14 to inform leadership of the issue, forcing the school to be closed without a chance for teachers to collect the required equipment to run lessons from home.

Echo: Difficult circumstances - Headteacher Jonathan OsbornDifficult circumstances – Headteacher Jonathan Osborn (Image: King Edmund School/Youtube)

“My son is finished with his work by 11.30am and then there isn’t anything else for him to do,” one angry parent who wished to remain anonymous said.

“He is missing out on so many important classes and he has GCSE at the end of year.”

A second parent told the Echo: “I understand the school was closed late on Monday, but there should have been some kind of plan in place to allow for teaching to continue.

“As working parents we don’t have the spare time to make sure they are learning everything they need to.”

Year 11 and year 13 pupils had been set to sit mock exams last week, but the school is now working the reschedule these.

Year 10 students were also due to have workforce experience this week, but this has now been moved to after Christmas.

Headteacher Jonathan Osborn said: “We are doing everything we can to provide our students with the support they need to continue their education at home. We understand the challenges that parents and students are facing right now and appreciate all that they are doing to support their children.

“At present we are unable to enter the school site to collect the equipment we need to run lessons via Teams for all students – headsets, graphic tablets etc.

“We are working hard to find an alternative solution.

“We are waiting for the DfE to provide an update regarding the progress of the testing and when the school will be safe to reopen.”

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “The Department of Education is leading on these works and keeping ECC and the school informed.

“Safety of staff and students is our utmost concern.  It is of the highest importance that all sensible precautions are taken so the school has moved to a home-based provision for a period time, and we are working with the DfE and the school to support the move to online learning

“We appreciate the challenges that this presents for the school and parent community and the disruption it causes to children’s education and would like to thank students, parents and staff for their ongoing support and understanding in these difficult circumstances.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The safety of pupils and school staff remains the top priority and nothing of concern has been found so far but we are continuing to do tests.

“The school will communicate to parents when they are set to reopen, and we continue to work closely with the local authority and school to minimise the impact on pupils’ learning.”

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