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Westlands School in Sittingbourne forced to shut due to water leak

A Sittingbourne secondary school has been forced to close today due to a water leak.

All 1,700 pupils at Westlands were told of the closure yesterday.

Head teacher Simon Cox said: "Unfortunately due to a significant problem with the school's water supplies, the school will be without water for the whole of Friday.

Westlands School
Westlands School

"Obviously I cannot run a school of 1,700 pupils and 150 staff without water. Therefore I have had to take the decision to close the school to all pupils and the vast majority
of my staff.

"You close a school as a last resort but the welfare of the children comes first."

He added: "I realise that closing the school at such short notice is difficult for parents. I think while they will be frustrated they will understand it had to be done.

"Eleven and 12-year-olds have to be looked after and it can affect those parents' work and routine."

Westlands Secondary head teacher Simon Cox
Westlands Secondary head teacher Simon Cox

As a result, a staff development day planned for Friday, November 25, has been cancelled, which Mr Cox also said ensured no child lost out on learning.

Westlands pupils who have lessons at Sittingbourne Community College were still expected to attend them, but the usual minibus between the two sites was not running.

Evidence of a water leak, on part of the school site near Cryalls Lane, was spotted when staff returned after the summer break.

"There was an oasis of green grass when all around it everything else was parched, so we were thinking that's getting water," said Mr Cox.

"Southern Water came and had a look. They investigated and found one smaller leak which we thought was the problem but then found a second bigger leak.

"They told me this will be sorted over the course of today and tomorrow so we will be back to normal by Monday."

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