A primary school has been told it will have to pay for £50,000 worth of repairs out of its own budget
An inspection of Waunfawr Primary School earlier this year revealed dangerous damage to the 100-year-old Crosskeys’ school’s guttering.
The school approached Caerphilly County Borough Council, which inspected the damage, and the cost of repair was estimated at £50,000.
But the school was then told it would have to pay to fix the damage out of its own budget – despite the council owning the building.
Steve Milne, a parent governor at the school, said: “A lot of work has been done at Waunfawr over the past couple of years to bring the classrooms up-to-date for the pupils, but to expect the school to pay tens of thousands of pounds from its budget for new guttering is outrageous.
“That’s money that should be spent on things like books and computer equipment to teach our children – not on the general maintenance of a building that’s owned by the local authority.
“As owners of the property you’d expect them to have a duty of care to pupils, staff and visitors at the school when it comes to the actual safety of the building. “They’ve told the headteacher we will have to foot the bill for this from our annual budget.”
A spokesman for Caerphilly County Borough Council said: “There is an annual bidding process for school capital works which commences in the Autumn.
“The school did not make this bid for 2014/15.
“The school obtained some more recent technical advice and the cost to replace the fascias, soffits and guttering was advised as circa £50,000.
“For the reason outlined, the scheme has not been prioritised for funding in 2014/15.
“The further technical advice we have received is that relatively minor repairs would suffice in the shorter term.
“These repairs would cost circa £5,000 and would be the responsibility of the school, in accordance with local management responsibilities.”
Mr Milne said the school should not be expected to pay for “an expensive band aid for something you’ll only have to pay for again further down the line”.
He added: “Were something to happen to a pupil or member of staff as a result of this unsafe heavy metal guttering, who would be legally responsible?
“The authority’s position on this just doesn’t make sense. It’s a bog standard health and safety issue and it’s hard to bid for money when you don’t realise there’s a problem.
“Now we’re being told the school should have to pay for a short-term fix costing more than £5,000, which will end up costing the taxpayer more in the long-term and would still mean the children at the school miss out on resources they desperately need.
“The money could pay for some serious equipment.”
The schools’ headteacher, Mrs Cueto, also approached Welsh Water about a drainage problem that is causing the playground to flood.
A Welsh Water spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of drainage issues at Waunfawr Primary School in Caerphilly.
“Whilst private drainage systems remain the responsibility of the landowner, we are carrying out a CCTV investigation to assess the condition of the local sewer to confirm there is capacity to accept the surface water from the school.”