On behalf of the school, I can only apologise once again for today's closure and the late notice for students, parents and carers.
Due to highly sensitive safety mechanisms and mechanical shut-downs in school, designed to keep us safe, we were just not in a position to open school today, despite the fact that we have no staff absence and many students were on their way. No headteacher can open a school when he/she cannot guarantee that emergency evacuation alarms, gas and clear air-handling are in order. The question is around why a modern building and its systems cannot seem to cope with some smoke in the area.
No doubt like our parents, we are deeply frustrated with this latest complication with our building systems, which has led to today's closure, based on smoke from a fire many miles away. The safety mechanism is shutting systems down automatically in the false belief that there is a fire in the building which of course there is not. We cannot open to children a building which does not provide a genuine emergency alert in the event of a real emergency at this time.
As you know, we are not the owners of the building but are merely tenants under the PFI contract. We are of the view that its operating systems should be able to handle an event such as today but apparently not.
We are in discussion with the Local Authority who hold the contract with the owners and operators of the building to try to find a solution going forward as we are fully aware it is not acceptable. It is with deep regret that we closed today. Lessons were planned and students and parents had made the usual school arrangements. Students in Year 10 had academic and practical examinations that we are re-scheduling as I write.
We are only too aware of the inconvenience the situation has caused but it is just not in our control, which is adding to our frustration. We cannot apologise enough and we are doing all we can to see if the Local Authority, Amber and Robertson can together find a solution going forward.
In relation to the Delph fire itself, we are told that excellent work by fire-fighters at Oakdale Mill is managing to contain the fire and our thoughts are with the fire crews as they carry out such dangerous but important work.
Mossley Hollins High School and Droylsden Academy