A SCHOOL which was damaged by high winds is still closed to many students after more than one and a half weeks.

Benton Park School in Rawdon was forced to close after the roof of the main building was damaged during the first week of February. But attempts to make the damage safe are being hampered by continuing bad weather.

Leeds City Council's executive member for learning, skills and employment Cllr Jonathan Pryor said: "Benton Park School remains closed to the majority of students as a result of damage to the roof of the main building caused by high winds over the first weekend in February.

"We acknowledge the disruption and inconvenience that this situation has caused for parents and the whole learning community of the school. However, our top priority throughout has been to ensure the safety of staff and children, and until the debris on the roof has been removed we cannot guarantee that the entire site is safe.

"The continuing high winds and Storm Ciara have made progress to rectify this slower than originally anticipated, and it has not yet been possible to finish erecting the scaffolding required to enable a full assessment of the damage and safe removal of debris from the roof to take place."

He added: "We have worked closely with the school throughout this situation and supported them to utilise space in the school sports hall and recently the sixth form block, as these buildings can now be accessed safely, and have also provided additional off site accommodation for some year groups. The school is working hard to ensure that all students can continue their learning, and are providing packages of work to those that are currently at home to complete online, with support available as required.

"This is a very difficult situation for the whole school community, and both ourselves and the school are doing everything possible to resolve it as safely and swiftly as possible. The school website continues to provide regular updates for parents and carers."

An update on Benton Park's website today said: "Unfortunately, the weather conditions continue to be against us and the wind and sleet are causing delays in erection of the scaffolding. Until this is safely in place, professionals are unable to carry out the necessary assessment and repairs. We continue to remain hopeful that this work will take place as soon as possible but as I am sure you will appreciate, it is completely beyond our control."

The update gives details of where Years 7, 10, 11, 12 and 13 will be taught.

It adds: "We are still working on securing alternative arrangements for students in Years 8 and 9

which means that unfortunately they will not be in school tomorrow. Work will continue to be

sent to these students for them to complete independent learning.

"We fully acknowledge the concern this is causing for families with students in Years 8 and 9. The situation we are faced with means we are having to make some difficult choices and our rationale for the current arrangements are based on the fact that we are prioritising exam groups and students in Years 8 and 9 have more advanced independent learning skills to be able to

access work at home, compared to students in Year 7."