Two schools built by collapsed modular contractor shut down

Two schools built by Caledonian Modular before the offsite specialist went under last year have been closed by government officials.

Haygrove School in Somerset and Sir Frederick Gibberd College in Essex have told parents that their main buildings cannot reopen as planned in September.

Both statements cite advice from the Department for Education (DfE), which carried out surveys on the facilities.

Caledonian Modular won the £38m contract in 2019 to deliver both schools. It went into administration in March 2022 and the business was bought by JRL Group the following month.

DfE officials ordered checks on the Somerset and Essex schools, and concluded that neither were fit to reopen.

A statement by Haygrove School said: “It is with huge disappointment that we today informed our school community that the DfE has decided, following its surveys, that we are not able to use the main school building until further notice.

“This means we are in need of alternative arrangements for the new school term in September.

“The DfE has promised us that it will be providing high-quality temporary accommodation on the school site as soon as possible. However, we do not yet know when this will be delivered and are seeking urgent clarification from the DfE. This is far from an ideal situation, and not what our valued colleagues and students deserve.”

Sir Frederick Gibberd College said: “Having regard to the reports received, the DfE is no longer able to verify the structural safety of the building, hence its advice to close.

“Specific plans for how teaching will be delivered across the year groups shall be shared in due course. While teaching shall continue, the autumn term for the whole school shall start on a later date than earlier published.”

Separately, two Cornwall primaries part-built by the contractor before it entered administration were demolished earlier this year.

CN has approached the DfE for comment on its reasons and timings for the surveys, and to confirm whether other Caledonian-built schools are under review. JRL Group has also been contacted for comment.

Accounts show that Caledonian Modular incurred a £2.8m pre-tax loss in the 12 months to 31 March 2020, following a deficit of £739,000 in the previous year.

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