School still in grips of winter big freeze

Notre Dame High school,Fulwood Rd
Notre Dame High school,Fulwood Rd
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SIXTH-formers at a Sheffield school are coping with temporary gas and electric heaters through the winter cold after the total failure of the heating system during the December big freeze.

Notre Dame RC High at Ranmoor is facing a bill of thousands of pounds to complete replace underground pipes in the Oakbrook House annexe, with the work unlikely to be completed until September.

Joint headteacher John Martin said the pipes had sprung a number of leaks during the pre-Christmas cold spell.

“We have had problems as the heating system is very, very old. It will take a good deal of time and money to replace it as the pipes are all situated under concrete floors,” he said.

“Conditions at the end of last year were horrendously bad – as soon as we fixed one leak another one would spring up somewhere else. They are old iron pipes and they have corroded.

“The only thing we can do is to totally replace the system which will cause major upheavals through digging up the floors – and so the work will have to be carried out during the Easter, Spring Bank and summer holidays.”

Initially, electric heaters were installed but the strain on the system resulted in a number of power cuts, leaving classrooms and officers without heat and light.

Now gas heaters have been brought in to keep the building warm, with extra ones installed last weekend as classrooms were still not warm enough in the current cold spell.

One mum said the students had been suffering from dry throats and colds due to the conditions, while in rooms where the gas heaters had been installed, windows had to be opened due to the fumes.

She said: “As a parent I am really concerned my child, who is in the final year of A-levels, will be disadvantaged when it comes to the exams. How can children be expected to study in an environment such as this?”

“When students complain they are told there’s nothing that can be done.”

Mr Martin said the situation had not been ideal, hence the introduction of more gas heaters.

“It is still not ideal but at least the building is now warm, probably more warm than it needs to be,” he added.