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Safety fears after steel window frame slips minutes before pupils pass underneath at Helston College

By WBGraeme  |  Posted: December 20, 2013


Helston Community College head Pat McGovern by the C-block quadrangle

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A WINDOW and steel frame slipped from the side of Helston Community College minutes before pupils would have passed underneath.

The heavy window section was left hanging by a single rusty hinge.

It is the latest in a catalogue of problems with the college’s decrepit C-block.

Head teacher Pat McGovern said: “We did have a health and safety incident at the college last week.

“A large, steel frame window nearly fell into the C-block quadrangle.

“It was only the quick action of the maintenance staff and estate manager that prevented it falling out completely.

“It was found to be hanging by one corroded hinge. This happened ten minutes before break time.

“Because of that and health and safety concerns, contractors have been in and bolted up all the windows. That’s OK at this time of year but we are going to have issues in the summer.”

He said £270,000 is now being spent by Cornwall Council on urgent repairs, but Dr McGovern said the entire block needed replacing.

“I consider that pouring good money after bad. What’s needed now is to spend £9 million to save money in the future,” he said.

C-block needs a new roof, asbestos removing, new heating and structural work to the walls. Many of the windows were already nailed shut, leading to soaring temperatures during the summer.

“I’ve spoken to Cornwall Council, the school minister and the MP – I don’t know where else to turn,” Dr McGovern added.

Cornwall Council has admitted it needed to replace the block but did not have the money needed.

The council has said it will continue to look for funding and Councillor Andrew Wallis, responsible for education, said he considered Helston to be a priority.

Andrew George, MP, has also called for action and recently set up a meeting with Schools Minister David Laws MP, who said he would raise the matter with the Education Funding Agency.

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