Flood-hit school hails 'amazing' community response
- Credit: Grove Primary School
Children and staff have returned to a Lowestoft-area primary school after flash flooding led to its temporary closure.
After torrential rain had hit the east coast last Friday, it was "business as usual" at Grove Primary School in Carlton Colville on Tuesday, June 22 as more than 300 children were back in the classroom.
The pupils had to be evacuated last Friday afternoon after the deluge of rain flooded the school's library and atrium area.
With "severe leaks" coming through the roof, as water also came up through the floor drains, staff battled to salvage books, carpets, tiles, soft furnishings and equipment in the library area.
Water also came through the roof in several classrooms of the school on Framfield Road, Carlton Colville while the outside area of the school was also severely flooded at one stage.
Staff and cleaners used buckets and containers inside to carry leaking water away while carpets and tiles were removed as the water was mopped up.
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The clean up continued until well into Friday evening, as contractors attended the school over the weekend and on Monday to assess the site and carry out safety checks.
It meant that the school remained closed on Monday, with learning carried out remotely, as the damage was assessed.
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With temporary flooring installed, the roof, structures and electrics were all checked and the library area moved as the school was reopened on Tuesday.
Executive headteacher Rae Aldous said everyone had been "so saddened" by the devastating damage to the library, which was only opened in September 2019 by author James Campbell, and then further upgraded last year.
Mrs Aldous said: "The library really is the heart of our school - it is central to everything and used all the time.
"To see it like it was on Friday was just been a bitter pill to take.
"There was just too much rain as the water poured through the atrium roof and came up through the drains as the drainage system could not cope with the flash floods on the day."
Hailing the response of staff, children and parents, Mrs Aldous said: "The children remained absolutely calm - their behaviour was outstanding.
"The staff - including teachers, teaching assistants and student teachers - were excellent as they reassured the children, kept them safe and calm, and evacuated them while trying their hardest to save our library.
"They were absolutely amazing.
"Our parents were so very understanding and kind and we have had so many offers of support from the community.
"After every storm comes a rainbow!"
Within a few hours the school's Parent Teachers Friends Association (PTFA) had set up a GoFundMe page calling for people to 'Help rebuild our library!'
It said: "We're so sad to have lost so many books, rugs, pieces of furniture and flooring that have all been ruined by water damage.
"Whilst the school does have insurance to help to rebuild the library area, we would love to help bring it back even better than before so our children can continue to develop their love of books and reading."
Initially asking for £1,000, that target was quickly surpassed and within three days it had attracted more than 90 donors as it reached £2,000.
Mrs Aldous said: "We've been completely overwhelmed with the support of the community.
"We've had parents and grandparents offering help and one grandparent provided sheeting to create a walkway around the atrium.
"We had our cleaning staff and others not working on Friday all coming in to help clear everything.
"The site manager Jim Osborn and the head of school Louise Creed have been superb - everyone has been working really hard to ensure we could open the school again.
"We had to make sure the school was safe with the structures and electrics and it was great to be back on Tuesday - it was business as usual with everyone calm and beautifully behaved."
Further works will be carried out at the school over the summer.
For more details on the fundraising visit the GoFundMe page.