Published: 12:05, 07 March 2019
| Updated: 13:46, 07 March 2019
School bosses were forced to call in pest controllers five times after pupils released cockroaches in a sixth-form common room.
Specialist teams returned repeatedly to Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar in Faversham after the insects were set free as part of an end-of-year prank.
Dead cockroaches were removed four times over a three-week period, and such was the scale of the issue that extermination work was still required four months after the stunt in 2016, which has only just emerged following a freedom of information.
The school was one of a number across the Canterbury district and Faversham to require the services of pest controllers over the past three years.
Figures reveal there were 74 call-outs in that time - not including routine checks - with rats, wasps and mice topping the list of unwanted visitors.
All three pests were cleared from Selling Primary School, which had 14 call-outs, while Chartham Primary School had eight, including a persistent rat in the caretaker’s shed.
At Spires Academy, pest controllers were called out twice, in one instance to deal with fleas, and another time, flies.
At Ospringe Church of England Primary, a squirrel had to be removed from a classroom, and in a separate incident, a mouse had to be caught and taken away.
Paul Higgin, premises manager at the Abbey School in Faversham, says pest controllers come into the school on a routine basis and this involves rabbit and mole gassing on some visits.
“The Abbey School is surrounded by farmland and new building development so it is expected to see the migration of the vermin,” he added.
“We have always had monthly visits; the school is huge and set in many acres of land. I would expect this to be pretty standard.”
“There is an issue with moles - the football/rugby and moles don’t mix well so when we have issues we are quick to react. The sports facilities earn an income, so we react accordingly.”
He adds that it is practically impossible to set traps for vermin around schools due to health and safety concerns to pupils.
Referring to the cockroach incident, Queen Elizabeth’s head teacher David Anderson said: “It was a minor incident at the time which caused little disruption.”
Kent County Council cabinet member for education, Roger Gough, said schools are required to provide a clean and safe environment for children, which includes taking measures to deal with potentially harmful pests.