Wet and cold Falkirk pupils pen 'heartbreak' letter of complaint to school

A mum says a group of Falkirk children were so wet and cold in their classrooms last week that they wrote a full page of complaints that were "heartbreaking to read".

Wednesday, 9th December 2020, 4:30 pm
23-05-2018. Picture Michael Gillen. CALIFORNIA. California Primary School exterior. California Primary exterior.

Last Friday, despite ice in the playground and pouring rain, children at California Primary had to take their lunch break outside and then sit in wet clothes in cold classrooms, says mum-of-three, Claire Lawson.

Under Scottish Goverment guidlines, all schools must keep their classroom windows open to stop the coronavirus circulating and breaks should be taken outside.

But Claire was furious when her children, Ellie-Louise (10) and twins Ethan and Aidan (9), arrived home.

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She said: "My children came home from school on Friday in a terrible state - they were soaked through to the skin, shivering and crying.

"Their toes were so numb they were actually hurting them.

"My son's jacket was still soaking wet when he got in and that was from lunchtime - so he'd had to go back into class and sit like that.

Claire has been concerned about the temperature in school for some time but the last straw was when Ethan showed her a piece of paper, where he had written comments from his classmates about how they felt.

The comments from the 'Complaints Agency' - included: "It is so cold and it is torture"; "I am so angry that I had to go outside"; and "I'm freezing".

Ethan's sister Ellie-Louise wrote that she has been so cold she has started wearing four layers on her top half, two pairs of trousers and four pairs of socks.

Claire says several other parents have also complained and she has called on Falkirk Council to do something about it.

"There is no way children will learn anything in those conditions, it's absolutely shocking." she said.

"There is a minimum temperature and it's not being met and I want to know why not.

"They are not even getting hot school dinners at the moment, so there is no way they are going to warm up."

Claire is one of several Braes villagers affected by sky-high heating costs, which means she can't even offer her children a hot bath when they get in.

Belinda Tomasik, Acting Headteacher at California Primary School said: “I would like to reassure parents that the safety and wellbeing of the children remains our highest priority.

“It’s important for pupils to get out in the fresh air during breaks as their movements around the classroom and the school is limited at the moment.

“No pupil is expected to sit in a class in wet clothes.

"If any child reports to staff that their clothing is wet, we provide them with dry clothing if this is available in a suitable size or we contact their parent/carer to provide a change of clothes for them.

“The heating in California Primary School is fully functioning and classrooms are heated adequately.

"There are thermometers in every room and these are monitored regularly.

"However, in order to be COVID-19 compliant windows in classrooms must remain open.”

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