School fined £80,000 after class of young kids hit by crumbling ceiling

A school has been forced to pay more than £87,000 after children and their teacher were hit by chairs, tables and debris when a Year 3 classroom ceiling fell on them. 

Fifteen children at Rosemead Preparatory School in Dulwich, South London were in the classroom at about 9.30 am when the ceiling crumbled on them.  

The kids, all between seven and eight years old suffered injuries including fractured upper limbs, a concussion and cuts.

Twelve of the kids were taken to hospital and one was kept for an extended period so they could be observed.

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The school admitted to breaching health and safety laws, leading to the incident.

A Health & Safety Executive investigation found there were desks and chairs stored in a risky area in the school’s attic, not suitable for load bearing, which led to the collapse.

The search also discovered the Thurlow Educational Trust, which runs the school, had failed to undertake any structural or load-bearing capability assessments of the section of the attic.

HSE inspector Samuel Brown said: “This incident has resulted in injuries to multiple young children due to the failings of the school to ensure that chairs and tables were safely stored above their classroom.

“Schools should be a place where children can come to learn from teachers and one another without having to worry about their safety. 

“Fortunately, this incident did not cause any more serious injuries, but the mental and emotional impact of such an event should not be understated.”

Thurlow Educational Trust, of Thurlow Park Road, Dulwich, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The trust was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £7,116.31 in costs at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on August 29.

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