Schools out – for longer at Milford

Children at Milford School, Yeovil will not be going back to school with their peers. This follows a building survey that took place at the start of the summer holidays. Now a decision has been made not to open the site to staff or children on 5 September. The survey was undertaken by specialist Department for Education (DfE) structural engineers. Somerset County Council (SCC) explained “Regular building surveys are carried out at all Somerset schools to monitor the conditions of the buildings. A recent survey was carried out two weeks ago on the Milford Junior School site with the findings received last week. The report established there are concerns with the structure of the school building.”

SCC say that in the best interests of pupils and staff, the Milford Junior School building has therefore closed. With immediate effect. Alternative education provision will be put in place for the staff and over 400 children. All Milford
Junior School children will return from Monday 12 September, and education provision will be delivered via alternative nearby school sites. From the 1 September, children will access educational provision via online learning.

Cllr Tessa Munt is the Executive Lead for Children’s Services at Somerset County Council. She told us: “While 400 children won’t be able to enter their normal school building next week, alternative educational provision has been put in place and every one of the pupils will return to face-to-face learning in a classroom, albeit in a different location,
from Monday 12 September – quite a feat! I’d also like to thank our neighbouring schools who have stepped forward so diligently to offer their support in this challenging time.

So what is wrong with the school building? Here things are a little more opaque. On the one hand, Clare Laverty, Headteacher at Milford says “As a precautionary measure only, further and more detailed checks and inspections are taking place at Milford Infants School. Although no concerns are evident from the initial findings of its most recent survey which took place at the beginning of the summer holiday.

Meanwhile Pauline Price, CEO and Jackie Bachrach, Chair of Trustees at Huish Academy Trust said this: “Safety has
always been our primary concern and has long been a key priority. Due to these concerns, we made an application for a new school build to the DfE in April, and we are hopeful that this will move forward quickly
.” It has not been made clear what exactly the safety concerns were that led the Trust to make an application for a new school. They added that “we will work, at pace, with the DfE and Somerset County Council to create a new temporary school, complete with hall and playing areas, to be ready by the end of the Autumn term.”

Infants and pre school

Children at Milford Infant School will also return to face-to-face education slightly later than planned. All children are expected to return from Monday 12 September. If it is safe to reopen the Infant School building sooner, the school will do so and notify parents accordingly. From the 5 September, Milford Infant School children will access educational
provision via online learning (similar to during the Covid pandemic).
Milford pre-school is not affected by the above and will continue to operate as normal.

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