Colleges offering classrooms to Newham schools closed due to false widow spider infestations

False widow spider infestations have closed several schools in Newham. Pic: The Natural History Muse

False widow spider infestations have closed several schools in Newham. Pic: The Natural History Museum - Credit: The Natural History Museum / Tru

Colleges have stepped in to help provide an education for pupils at three secondary schools which have closed due to a spider infestation.

Lister Community School is closed due to a false widow spider infestation. Picture: Ken Mears

Lister Community School is closed due to a false widow spider infestation. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Year 11 pupils at Eastlea Community School will be having English, maths and science lessons at Newham College’s East Ham campus until the end of next week.

Their counterparts at Rokeby School will be studying at Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre until the school reopens, which headteacher Charlotte Robinson has said could be as soon as Monday.

The Canning Town school has also organised special sports sessions for younger pupils at UEL Sports Dock and East Ham Leisure Centre.

Meanwhile Lister Community School is inviting parents to attend a drop-in session at Plaistow library tomorrow (Thursday) between 1pm and 3pm to discuss the school closure arrangements.

Rokeby School in Canning Town is closed due to a false widow spider infestation. Picture: Ken Mears

Rokeby School in Canning Town is closed due to a false widow spider infestation. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant


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Off-site provision has been arranged in some subjects for Year 10 and 11 pupils at NewVIc, and for Year 11 at Newham Collegiate.

Pupils in all year groups at the three schools are being set work to complete at home until the buildings can be reopened.

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Staff from one of the affected primary schools, Ellen Wilkinson, are spending the week at St Mark’s Learning Hub, handing out work packs to parents and carers for pupils to complete at home and speaking to those who have concerns.

The school’s headteacher, Sue Ferguson, has said that she expects both the school and the Little Ellies nursery to reopen on Tuesday, October 16, with the children’s centre due to reopen on Wednesday, October 17.

Star Primary School aims to reopen on Monday, October 15, and has been offering classes for Year 6 pupils at Canning Town library as well as setting work for pupils online.

The other two primary schools to be closed while a possible arachnid infestation was investigated - Monega and Earlham - have since reopened, although Monega’s nursery will be shut for the rest of the week.

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