Pupils put up with fleas and leaking huts

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The Independent Online
Parkdale primary school is falling to bits. The roof leaks, the windows are falling out and nearly two-thirds of the children are taught in wooden huts that were put up before the First World War.

The school at Carlton, Nottingham, has bought a stock of umbrellas because nearly 200 children have to cross 50 yards of playground to use a portable lavatory.

Another lavatory is in part of a wooden hut put up during the Second World War.

Classrooms for the younger children were built in the Sixties, but even they are leaking. When it rains, teachers put out buckets to catch water coming in through both the roof and badly fitting windows. Sometimes the electrical fittings get wet.

Colin Edwards, the headteacher, said: "If anyone wanted to remake the film The Great Escape, this school would make the ideal set. The First World War huts were a field hospital and some people say they go back to the Boer War.

"We had to move some children into more modern Portakabins last year because the doors were breaking and the windows falling out."

Under the wooden buildings, foxes are breeding. Last year Mr Edwards threatened to close the school because there were so many fleas.

The school has 30 broken windows, but there is no money to replace them.

Mr Edwards says: "If schools have to choose between teachers and maintaining buildings, they are going to choose teachers. So the state of the buildings will get much worse. As it is, we are losing a part-time teacher and an instrumental music teacher."

Nottinghamshire County Council this year asked the Government for £18.63m for capital building and repairs. It received just £1.67m.

A council spokesman said: "We actually need £80m to do everything that needs to be done."