Update on Barlby and Kensington Queensmill Schools

Wednesday 5 May 2021

Kensington and Chelsea Council and headteachers at Barlby School and Kensington Queensmill School would like to update parents, teachers, and the local community, on construction of the new schools.

With work nearing completion, residents discovered the use of Kingspan insulation by subcontractors, and so the Council began an urgent investigation into what had been used, where, and why.

The Council halted associated works on the site and asked the project management team to remove any unused product from site with immediate effect.

Some of the product had already been installed around the perimeter of the school, encapsulated below ground, under concrete and brickwork. The product is Kingspan Greenguard GG300 – it conforms with all building regulations and has a one-hour fire rating, and is designed to stop moisture getting into a building. Kingspan products have also been used in areas of pipework, again in compliance with building regulations.

Despite this, both the school and the Council are seeking further assurance on installation and safety, and Kensington Queensmill have taken the option to lead on an independent assessment of the product and its installation.

It remains the aim of both the Council and the two schools to open on time, however delays in construction are now likely so safety checks can be completed.

Dan Hawthorn, Kensington and Chelsea's Executive Director of Housing and Social Investment, said: “The schools, the parents, and the teachers have all been brilliant and are working with us and the contractors to get the guarantees that everybody wants to see.

“We started the build of these schools with safety first in our minds, and we continue to prioritise that.

“The Council is also continuing to explore all legal options in terms of not using companies involved in the Grenfell Inquiry, for future projects. We are continuing an audit across the borough with urgency, and will consider any actions on a case by case basis.”

Andy Nowak, Headteacher at Kensington Queensmill School, said: “We are positive about moving in, and can’t wait to get started. We understand that some parents might be worried about the recent events and we will continue our dialogue with them.

“We will be making sure we get an independent assessment done as soon as possible, prioritising the safety of our pupils – as we always do in any situation.

“We want the school to open on time, safely, and we are excited to get started.”

Anthony Mannix, Headteacher at Barlby School, added: “We have no doubt our new buildings will be a brilliant place for children to learn. Our Governors are reviewing important safety paperwork, and we will continue to update our parents, children, and staff.

“We want our schools to open on time – and our pupils and parents do as well.”