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Schools are evacuated after strong winds damage roof

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STAFF and pupils at two St Helier schools were sent home yesterday afternoon after storm-force winds caused damage to a roof.

Staff from Education come to assess the situation in the torrential rain. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (27168382)

More than 600 pupils from both Haute Vallée School and Mont à l’Abbé had to be evacuated to a safe area before being sent home because of the risk of flying debris from the Haute Vallée roof.

Mont à l’Abbé Secondary School will be closed again today. Haute Vallée will be closed for Year 7, 8 and 9 students, but Years 10 and 11 are being told to attend as usual. Strong winds and heavy rain hampered the process of evacuating the affected building, but the weather eased during the afternoon.

Haute Vallée pupils who needed to remain in school until 3pm were permitted to do so and supervised by staff during this period. A parents’ evening for Year 8 pupils, due to be held yesterday evening, was postponed until after half-term.

At neighbouring Mont à l’Abbé Secondary School, pupils and staff were kept indoors to avoid any risk of injury from flying debris before the decision was made to close the school for the remainder of the day.

Science classes at Haute Vallée were among those cancelled, causing disappointment for pupils hoping to hear from renowned teacher Shaun Donnelly, who is currently visiting Jersey.

Mr Donnelly, the creator of freesciencelessons.com, is known for his GCSE science revision videos and has more than 300,000 YouTube subscribers. He had been due to address students on how to stay motivated, how to aim high and how to cope with exam stress.

A spokesperson for the Children, Young People, Education and Skills Department said: ‘We would like to thank parents and carers for their understanding and co-operation today following the unexpected closure of Haute Vallée School and Mont à l’Abbé Secondary School. This was a consequence of the high winds that we have experienced over the last few days, which caused disturbance to the roofing fabric at Haute Vallée.

‘Following an assessment of the damage to the roof and a review of the predicted weather conditions, Haute Vallée School will be closed tomorrow, Friday 14 February, for Years 7, 8 and 9, but will open for Years 10 and 11. Years 10 and 11 will be taught in an area of the school which is unaffected. Mont à l’Abbé Secondary School will remain closed.

‘The safety of all members of our school community is paramount and we have worked throughout the day to ensure that students and staff were safe and that they all left the site safely.

‘We would like to reassure parents and carers that a detailed inspection of the damage has been undertaken and remedial repairs of the roof are planned to be completed tomorrow morning, when the wind has dropped and it is safe to access the roof. Further updates to this situation will be issued as and when we have them.’

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