Pupils face emotional return as school next to Grenfell Tower reopens

Pupils who were displaced from their school by the Grenfell Tower fire more than a year ago are to move back to the site at the start of the next academic year, despite opposition from some families who feel it’s too soon to return. The Guardian reports.

Kensington Aldridge academy’s (KAA) £26m state-of-the-art building has stood empty for more than a year following the fire in June 2017. The school decamped to a temporary site just over a mile away, leaving forensic investigators to work on what remains of the tower block, which looms over the school playground.

School leaders recognise the move back to the original building in September will be difficult for some pupils who lived in and around the tower where 72 people died. Five of their classmates were among the dead. “For some it could be very hard indeed,” the school acknowledges on its website.

In order to reassure anxious parents, the school has appointed its own independent structural engineer who will have access to all the safety reports related to the site. The school is also promising an independent air quality and asbestos monitoring process, both inside and outside the academy, in addition to the Public Health England monitoring that is already taking place. The temporary school, known as KAA2, will also remain available should it be required at any point.

“Whilst we accept that it can be emotional for some students to return to our original building, and that the tower is very close to our playground, we are confident that we have the resources in place to support all students to make this return home,” the school notes in information for parents on its website.

For some students who watched the tower burn, the prospect of moving back is daunting. Grandmother Susan Carter, whose 14-year-old grandson lost a friend in the disaster and is worried about returning, said many in the community thought feelings were still too raw.

“My grandson doesn’t want to go back. It’s too soon. It’s too raw. There are lots of people who are unhappy about it. But the school are doing as they please. They aren’t listening. Some of those kids, their classmates died in the fire. They are still affected by that.”

Read the full article Pupils face emotional return as school next to Grenfell Tower reopens

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