A parent refused to let their child attend lessons at a primary school – because of the smell from a controversial quarry.
St Giles’ and St George’s Academy has released details of the incident which saw the child taken straight back home.
It comes as the Newcastle school is regularly affected by the stink from Walleys Quarry which is 1.2-kilometres away in Silverdale.
Other issues affecting the academy include:
- Children being unable to concentrate due to the smell;
- Pupils not wanting to play outside because of the smell;
- Members of staff thinking there had been gas leaks at the school on at least five occasions.
Now the Orme Road school has written an open letter to Newcastle MP Aaron Bell and the Environment Agency. The site is operated by Red Industries.
Headteacher Catherine Pointon said: “The smell is often most prevalent on arrival in the morning after the building has absorbed it overnight.
“We have had children complaining of the smell, being unable to concentrate, not wanting to play outside, and on at least five occasions members of staff have had to investigate a suspected gas leak only to realise that it was the smell from the quarry.
“On arrival at school, we have also had complaints from parents regarding the smell and, on one occasion, a parent has returned home with their child as they were not happy to leave them with us.”
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Ms Pointon says the smell was at its worst at 7.30am on Monday, March 1. It followed more than 2,000 complaints to Newcastle Borough Council about the quarry over the course of the previous weekend.
The letter continued: “I entered the building and was nearly physically sick due to the smell and found it very difficult to breathe.
“I had to make the decision not to allow any children into the school premises until we had allowed a period of time for ventilation. Thankfully we had enough time for ventilation before the beginning of the school day. If this had not been the case, I may well have had to shut the school to the children on this day.”
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