Prep school trust fined following ceiling collapse
The Thurlow Educational Trust, which runs Rosemead Preparatory School in Dulwich, south London has been fined £80,000 after a ceiling collapsed onto 15 children in a Year 3 class, ITV has reported.
Tables and chairs fell from an attic above the classroom injuring pupils and their teacher who suffered fractured limbs, cuts and concussions. Several pupils were taken to hospital for assessment and treatment following the incident on 15 November 2021.
The trust pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £7,116.31 in costs at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 August.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the falling items were stored in an area in the attic which was not designed to be load bearing and led to the ceiling collapsing. It found the trust failed to undertake any structural or load bearing capability assessments of the storage area, and failed to assess whether the area was appropriate for storage.
HSE inspector Samuel Brown said: “This incident has resulted in injuries to multiple young children due to the failings of the school to ensure that chairs and tables were safely stored above their classroom.
“Schools should be a place where children can come to learn from teachers and one another without having to worry about their safety.
“Fortunately, this incident did not cause any more serious injuries, but the mental and emotional impact of such an event should not be understated.
“Employers need to take action to ensure that building stability and solidity problems are not caused through overloading areas not designed to bear weight. As proven, the failure to do so can have severe consequences.”
Rosemead Preparatory School and Nursery teaches children aged between two-and-a-half and 11.