• Tipton St John school community clears up after floods yet again

    11th April 2016 | News | Claire
  • “Special thanks must go to the parents and the fire brigade for their support again with the clear up. We could not get the school back to working order without the help of the community.” Colin Butler, Executive Headteacher

    Tipton St. John Church of England Primary School site was flooded AGAIN on Saturday 26th March 2016, in the wake of storm Katie which brought heavy rain, floodwater inland and on the coast strong winds.

    The school grounds were inundated with water and mud from the surrounding farmland making them unsafe and therefore unusable by the children. It was a close call as the PE and general equipment stores were affected. Luckily it stopped short of going into the classrooms – Just.

    This is only 3 months after the last clear up in January.

    An appeal was sent out to parents and friends to help clear the mud from the site on Monday 11th April 2016, to enable the school to open for lessons on Tuesday 12th April. Local County Councillor Claire Wright rally support again and also contacted Lee Howell, Chief Fire Officer to enquire if it was possible to have assistance from the Fire Brigade, again. Mr Howell responded promptly stating that a crew will be there to assist.

    Sunday 27th March 2015, the aftermath of storm Katie, the playfield flooded again.

    Claire Wright, Devon County Councillor for Tipton St John said:
    “As the Devon County Councillor for Tipton St John I think it is absolutely disgraceful that earlier this year, the government rejected an application by the school for funding for a new build.
    The school site is vulnerable to flooding and has been flooded many times, including in 2008 when the school had to be evacuated for four months while repair work was carried out. 

    The extreme weather that we are seeing now in Cumbria and Yorkshire should not be regarded as a one in a 100 year event as we keep being told, but as a consequence of climate change. It really is about time that the government accepted that climate change is a fact and started to tackle these issues.

    Tipton St John School is in need of urgent attention – and I very much hope that in any future round of funding applications, it will be successful.”

    “Just three months after the last flood inundated the school grounds teachers are forced to organise yet another community clear up and enlist the help of the fire brigade.

    Lord Nash has failed to even reply to the school’s funding request for a new building out of the flood zone, which was received at least six months ago.  At the very least this is disrespectful to the children. I very much hope we hear from him soon on this urgent issue.”

    John Sherwood, chair of governors for the Otter Valley Federation, said: “The village of Tipton St John is notoriously prone to flooding and the goal of the school staff and governors remains to relocate the school as soon as possible to an alternative site in the village which is above the floodplain and so beyond flood risk.  The governors invested a significant amount of money in commissioning a flood risk assessment for the area around the school and this report, together with our own records, confirms an ongoing flood risk significant in frequency and volume and which is likely to escalate with the effects of climate change.

    With the help of Hugo Swire the flood issues at the school were brought to the attention of Lord Nash and the Department for Education in November and the governors are waiting for their response to the report. We consider it vital that there should be a long term solution to this problem and in the short term there is a need to mitigate and manage the flood risk.”

    “As a parent I get to see the wonderful all-round education and fantastic results Tipton St. John School achieves despite the school’s site and buildings’ problems.  As the school’s parent governor, I am frustrated and saddened to see the school and governors being left to find solutions to the local area’s flooding problem with minimal local and no national government support.  Following the horrible flooding across the country, perhaps we will see a much-needed increase in government support to communities like Tipton.” 
    Nicky Thomas, Parent Governor

    “As a governor I am tired of listening to the weather forecast with a dread of hearing “heavy rain in the South West” … knowing that that will be causing stress to school staff whether or not it results in flooding, if flooding does occur as a minimum we will be relying on the good will of the local community and fire brigade to get the grounds and equipment usable again but could be looking at a lower site out of action for a prolonged period and serious disruption to children education.” 
    Mo Mylne Community / Foundation Governor for Tipton St. John

    Colin Butler Executive Headteacher for the Otter Valley Federation, said:
    “The problem seems to be definitely getting worse, this is already the second time this year we have had to hold a major clear up. We are just so fortunate to have a community that will keep turning out to help clear up. So far we have been extremely lucky and the worst flooding has happened over night, or in the holidays; my greatest concern is that there will be a flooding event during school time and children’s safety could be threatened.  In the short term we endeavour not to allow the issue of flooding to disrupt the pupils’ education. However, the safety of every child, and member of staff, in the school is our highest priority. The school therefore regularly re-examines and tests our emergency procedures and evacuation plans.”

    Michael Tuckett, Head of School Tipton St. John, said:
    “I am very proud of the results and education children receive at Tipton St. John School, but not many schools have to put flood gates up and move equipment every time heavy rain is forecast. It takes up a considerable amount of time that we would prefer to focus on the childrens’ educational experience and learning.”

    Richard Power, Exeter Diocese Architect, said:
    “We will continue to work with the Governing Body of the school and the Local Authority in pressing the Department for Education for a capital funding solution to enable the relocation of Tipton St John School from its current flood-prone site”.