logo Burngreave Messenger Issue 34 - September 2003.





St Catherine’s contaminated
by Martin Currie

St Catherine’s School will not open at the start of September due to asbestos contamination. The material was disturbed during work on the roof over the summer. The whole school has been sealed off, and there is the real possibility that furniture, equipment, books, records and children’s work may have to be destroyed as they have been contaminated.

Temporary accommodation
The school governors, Headteacher, LEA and the Diocese of Hallam have succeeded in finding another school to move into for the time being. Hemsworth School, Blackstock Road (close to Norton Water Tower) was closed in July 2003 and is awaiting demolition.

More local accommodation would have meant splitting the school up, so the intention is for coaches to move children and staff from the St Catherine’s to Hemsworth and back each day, a 45-minute journey in morning traffic.

Urgent efforts are being made to clean and equip the deserted Hemsworth School but it will not be ready by the start of term on 2nd September. Pupils will therefore have the windfall of a few extra days holiday.

Nursery children stay at home
Unfortunately there are no plans as yet for the nursery so these small children will have to stay away. Liz Smith, a local parent and childminder sends three of her own children to St Catherine’s, and will be caring for a number of children unable to attend the nursery.

“Given the circumstances, the staff and governors have managed to turn around a potentially disastrous situation into something that will be a positive learning experience for all involved.”

Her daughter Victoria aged 7 did not seem too concerned. Her response to an extra week on holiday was simply “Hurrah!”

Questions are being asked about the handling of the work over the summer, as to whether the contamination could have been avoided. It is hoped the St Catherine’s site will be reopened by Monday 13th October.



St Catherine's School and signpost: "DIRTY - NO ENTRY - Asbestos Removal Operations. Authorised Access Only To Persons Wearing Protective Clothing."
Photos taken
1st September 2003.