THE youngest pupils at one of Colchester’s biggest schools are yet to be taught at their new school more than a month after the crumbling concrete crisis began to unfold.

The Gilberd School is one of the schools worst affected by collapse-prone reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac).

Most pupils have now returned to the school, in Brinkley Lane, full-time after the Department for Education told school leaders to close any buildings containing the lightweight building material.

But Year 7 pupils continue to be taught at the newly opened Trinity School in Mile End and parents are yet to find out when their children will be welcomed to the Gilberd.

Gazette: Boss - Gilberd executive headteacher Linda ExleyBoss - Gilberd executive headteacher Linda Exley

Writing to parents, executive headteacher Linda Exley refused to make any promises to the school’s new intake.

“We will not [bring Year 7 back] until sufficient temporary classrooms and dining facilities are established on site,” she said.

“Whilst things are now progressing rapidly, it would be potentially misleading to try and put a timescale on this at the current stage.”

Though unconfirmed by the school, the Gazette understands the installation of 16 modular buildings at the Highwoods site, which will replace the temporary learning spaces it has created in sports halls and marquees, will happen over the next two weeks.

'It's been a nightmare'

Fay Hendon, whose 11-year-old son Hamish started Year 7 at the Gilberd in September, told the Gazette she is “fuming with the Government” after being forced to sacrifice some of her income to be able to get her son to and from Trinity School on days where she doesn’t have adequate childcare.

“It’s just been so stressful,” she said. “I’ve tried to keep it as smooth as possible for Hamish but it’s been a nightmare for me.”

Gazette: Issues - the Gilberd School is badly affected by the Raac crisisIssues - the Gilberd School is badly affected by the Raac crisis (Image: Newsquest)

The 11th-hour decision by Education Secretary Gillian Keegan to close buildings containing Raac meant parents were given just a few days’ notice before the start of the school year in September.

Fay added: “If the Government made that announcement sooner work could’ve been done in the school holidays.”

The Gilberd had been forced to introduce a rota system which saw children welcomed into the school for part of the school day.

Year 11 pupils, who are studying for their GCSEs, were welcomed back full-time later in September, with Year 10 following last week and Years 8 and 9 this week.