ONE of Colchester’s biggest secondary schools has confirmed it will remain closed at the start of the new school year over fears regarding “unsafe buildings”.

The Gilberd School, in Brinkley Lane, Highwoods, has confirmed it is one of more than 100 schools across the country affected by the Government’s decision to close all school buildings which contain a material called reinforced autoclave aerated concrete (RAAC) with immediate effect.

The areas of the school containing the material, which is prone to collapse, include all classrooms on the second floor of its main teaching block, the main dining areas and kitchen facilities, the technology block, parts of the music block, and parts of the PE block.

In a letter sent to parents today, executive headteacher Linda Exley said it “simply isn’t possible” for the school to re-open on Tuesday.

Gazette: Head - Linda ExleyHead - Linda Exley

She wrote: “We are expecting further guidance and support from the Department for Education very soon.

“This will hopefully include the addition of temporary classrooms whilst the mitigation work is carried out on our roof.”

Mrs Exley added she hopes to welcome pupils from Years 8 to 11 back to the school on Monday, September 11, with Year 7 pupils joining the following day.

The letter continued: “The new timetable arrangements aim to return students in Years 8 to 11 on a rota basis to The Gilberd School site.

“Whist this will have to be a shorter day initially, all students will receive face to face teaching every day.

“This is a short-term plan until temporary classrooms are erected at which point, all students will return to their normal timetable and a full school day.”

The Gilberd does not currently have any plans to introduce remote learning.

Harwich and North Essex MP Sir Bernard Jenkin told the Gazette he understands 65 schools across the county are expected to close.