Three Newham schools to remain closed until half term due to false widow 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

Three schools affected by a false widow spider infestation will remain closed until the half term break.

Eastlea Community School, John F Kennedy Sepcial School and Lister Community School will all be shut until Friday, October 19.

The week after that is half term, when every school will be closed for a week’s holiday, meaning that pupils will be returning to lessons on Monday, October 29.

Four other schools are currently closed but three - Rokeby School, Star Primary School and Godwin Junior School - will all reopen on Monday, October 15.

The other, Ellen Wilkinson Primary School, will reopen on Tuesday, October 16.

Councillor Julianne Marriott, cabinet member for education, said: “No headteacher wants to be in a position where they have to close their school.

“Our headteachers know their schools and pupils best, and have their children’s welfare as top priority. They have not made these decisions lightly and we fully support the actions they’ve taken.

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“We have different types of schools comprising new buildings and old, which have different number of spiders. Our schools cater for pupils with a variety of differing needs that they need to accommodate.

“The school closures have been of varying lengths of time based on the advice of pest control professionals and detailed risk assessments.

“Many of the affected schools are reopening next week and have worked with other schools, our colleges and sixth forms to ensure children continue to have access to education.”

Year 11 pupils at the three affected secondary schools - Rokeby, Lister and Eastlea - have been taking lessons at colleges and sixth form centres across the borough.

Pupils have also been set work to complete at home and some schools provided sports sessions in parks and at leisure centres.

Mandeep Gill, principal of NewVIc, one of the colleges to offer their help, said: “We have been extremely happy to welcome the students and staff of local schools into NewVIc for classes and activities this week.

“This has been a real catalyst to bring the schools and colleges together.

“We all want the best for the young people of Newham and we are very committed to continuing to work together to build even stronger relationships between us.”