Essex

Harlow Aspire Academy: School reopens late as work overruns

TBAP Aspire Academy
Image caption The TBAP Aspire AO Academy has been rated inadequate by inspectors

Pupils at a troubled school will return two days late after essential building work overran.

TBAP Aspire AP Academy, in Harlow, Essex, will reopen on Wednesday to allow work, commissioned after a health and safety review, to be finished.

Harlow MP Robert Halfon described the incident as a "disaster" and called for the academy's trust to be removed.

TBAP, which runs Aspire, said the safety of staff, learners and visitors was taken "very seriously".

The school, which provides education for children excluded from other schools, has had financial troubles since the trust took over and head teacher Deb Garfield previously told the BBC the school had received thousands of pounds worth of late payment notices.

As well as work being unfinished the BBC has been told staff had been asked to paint their own classrooms.

'Shameful'

In a statement TBAP said: "Due to an overrun of essential building works at Aspire AP Academy, the start of term has been moved from Monday, 9 September to Wednesday, 11 September.

"The works were commissioned following a full health and safety risk assessment.

"The school's community has been made aware of this change and every effort is being made to minimise the impact this has on them.

"The health and safety of our learners, staff and visitors, is a responsibility we take very seriously."

Mr Halfon said the school should be rebrokered, allowing a new academy trust to take over the running, and said there were "serious questions" over the running of the school.

He said: "It cannot continue like this. It is disgusting and shameful and we are hurting the most vulnerable children in our area."

The school was rated "inadequate" at its last inspection in May with safeguarding raised as an issue.

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