High school to remain closed after holidays as legionella found in water

Auchenharvie Academy was set to open after the summer break on Monday but will now remain closed until test results come back.

Auchenharvie Academy to stay shut from summer after traces of legionella bacteria found in water Google Maps

Secondary pupils at an Ayrshire school have been told they will not return as planned on Monday after traces of legionella bacteria were found in the water supply.

Parents at Auchenharvie Academy in Stevenston, North Ayrshire, have been informed that pupils will be sent to alternative schools next week while the water supply is disinfected.

Senior pupils have been asked to work from home with Chromebooks provided.

The bacteria was caught during a monitoring regime of the water quality.

North Ayrshire Council announced that alternative arrangements have now been made for S1 to S6 pupils, who were due to return from their summer holidays on Monday.

A full clean, flush and disinfect of the water system was undertaken immediately after the bacteria was discovered and follow-up measures are now in place.

However, the council say the contractor responsible for testing water samples is not able to provide results ahead of term starting which has led to pupils being temporarily relocated.

Auchenharvie Academy head teacher Calum Johnston said: “The safety and wellbeing of our young people and staff must come first.

“We will be in touch with all parents to advise them of the temporary arrangements and thank them for their patience and understanding.

“I would also like to thank all the different teams across the council who have rallied round at such short notice to ensure our young people do not miss out.”

School meals will be provided – free of charge – to all pupils who are attending at St Matthew’s, Ardrossan Civic Centre or Saltcoats Town Hall.

There will also be details of temporary transport arrangements which may be put in place.

Councillor Shaun Macaulay, cabinet member for education and young people, said: “This is a development which could not have been foreseen and was totally outwith our control.

“Unfortunately, there has been a delay in the council obtaining the results ahead of the new term commencing.

“With the safety of our pupils and staff our priority, and purely as a precaution, the decision has been taken to provide alternative arrangements in the short term.

“However, it does show our rigorous water-quality regime works as intended and ensures the continued safety of our young people and staff. While the chances of contracting legionella are incredibly small, it isn’t a risk we are prepared to take.

“We hope parents and pupils understand the reasoning behind this decision – it wasn’t an easy call to make but it is the correct one.”

A decision on when classes will resume will be made after test result come back, which the council say should be next week.

From Monday, August 21, temporary alternative arrangements will be in place for different years groups:

  • S1 pupils will attend St Matthew’s Academy
  • S2 pupils will attend Ardrossan Civic Centre
  • S3 will attend Saltcoats Town Hall
  • S4-6 pupils will take part in virtual learning from home. Any pupils who require any resources to work at home or a Chromebook in order to take part in the virtual lessons will be able to collect them from Auchenharvie Academy on Friday, August 18 from 8am-4pm.
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