Concerns about fire safety in local primary schools were raised after Stillness Primary School in Brockley Rise was gutted by fire on the afternoon of 28 August. It took 50 firefighters two hours to control the blaze, which started in the annexe building but quickly swept up through the roof, leaving large parts of the school unusable.
This comes just five months after Hatcham Temple Grove primary school in New Cross was destroyed by fire after a propane gas cylinder exploded during refurbishing works in the Easter holidays last April.
The London Fire Brigade is still investigating the cause of the Stillness fire, but, in a letter to the local press, former Stillness school governor Ray Woolford argues that the real problem is that Lewisham council’s fire safety precautions are inadequate. “How many fires does it take to force Lewisham’s Labour council to carry out a review of school safety as requested by the New Cross and Deptford New School Campaign after the last fire?” he asks.
However, a spokesman for Lewisham Council told East London Lines that the council had well-established emergency plans for every kind of contingency, adding that safety procedures for schools are robust and are regularly reviewed.
Stillness School has now re-opened for the autumn term, although Year 6 children have been moved to alternative accommodation for the current period.
Children from Hatcham Temple Grove were moved to temporary classrooms for the summer term and have now been relocated to Haberdasher Askes’ secondary school in New Cross. Rebuilding on that primary school site is not expected to be finished until 2012.
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