False widow spider outbreak closes a SEVENTH school in Newham

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

A seventh school has been forced to close because of an outbreak of false widow spiders across Newham.

Eastlea Community School.

Eastlea Community School. - Credit: Archant

Eastlea Community School in Canning Town announced today that it was closing its doors from Wednesday until October 29.

A letter from headteacher Stephen Gillat which was sent to parents today, and has been seen by the Recorder, says: “Upon Newham environmental health inspecting Eastlea an infestation of spiders were discovered in and around the perimeter of our buildings.

“Therefore, I have had to take the difficult decision to close Eastlea Community School to students and staff...

“We have engaged a company to deal with and eradicate this pest and they will do this as quickly as possible. However, they have estimated that this will take up to three weeks.”


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Monega Primary School in Monega Road, Manor Park, said on Friday that it was dealing with an arachnid infestation.

Two further primaries – Ellen Wilkinson in Beckton and Star in Star Lane – and two secondaries – Rokeby, in Canning Town, and Lister, in Plastow – have also announced closures.

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Since it closed Forest Gate’s Earlham Primary declared itself spider free and has reopened.

A Newham Council spokeswoman said last week the affected schools were being treated and fumigated and it was working with them to ensure children continued to get an education whilst their school was closed.

“We are asking all our schools and nurseries to proactively check their premises carefully for these spiders and if they see any signs, then contact environmental health or pest control as well as notifying the council,” the spokeswoman added.

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