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Opening delayed as new school targeted by thieves

Children looking forward to starting the new school year in a brand new primary school have been left disappointed, after thieves stole copper pipes and caused extensive damage to the school’s heating and water systems.

Thieves broke into the under-construction Henhurst Primary Academy a few weeks ago, stealing a substantial amount of specially-made copper piping and associated fittings from the plant room.

The theft means the school will not have access to heating and water by the time school starts on September 4, meaning it cannot open for a few weeks after start of term.

Staffordshire County Council and Academy sponsors REAch2 have been busy working on alternative education arrangements for the children. Pupils due to attend the new school will now be bussed to the nearby Scientia Academy—also sponsored by REAch2—until the bespoke piping and fittings can be replaced.

County Councillor Philip White, Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills said:

“To steal from a primary school, before it has even opened its doors to pupils, is despicable. These appear to have been well-prepared, professional thieves who knew exactly where to go and what to steal from a well-secured building. It’s incredibly disappointing for the children, who I know were looking forward to starting their school life in a brand new, state-of-the-art school.

“Our priority is the children and their education and I’m pleased that REAch2 have been very pro-active in putting alternative arrangements as quickly as possible. Our contactor will also be pulling out all the stops to get the build back on track.”

Head teacher Charlotte Hopkins said:

“We are all really disappointed that our new school has been targeted in such a way, and we know that parents and the children will be disappointed too. We, along with the county council and constructor, are pulling out all the stops to get the building ready for occupation as soon as possible. Occupying Scientia Academy is a short term measure until we’re able to move into our permanent home at Henhurst Ridge in the Autumn Term.”

The school has written to parents, informing them of the alternative arrangements