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Fordley Primary School

‘Aiming Higher’

IMPORTANT UPDATE - Outcome of the structural survey

Please read the letter below from North Tyneside Council


11 March 2024


RE: Findings from initial structural reports


Dear Parent/Carer,


We have received a report from the Council and their structural engineers Narro who have been investigating what caused the small part of concrete block to fall from the ceiling in December 2023.


Over the past few months, we have worked closely with the Council and engineers to carry out tests including drilling into the core of the building, removing, and testing blocks.


It’s been a lengthy process, and we really appreciate your patience while we allowed these vital checks to take place.


We are pleased to now able to give you a summary of the issue below.


What is the issue?


The report has confirmed that there is currently no concern as to the overall stability of the building or significant collapse.  The parts of the school currently open can continue to be used safely.


Early indications from this report suggest the issue is a historical isolated issue connected to the mixture of the concrete used when the school was constructed. 


This weak mix was formed into hollow blocks – a common building method in the 1960s when the school was built – and then used as part of a technique which is sometimes referred to as Hollow Concrete Block and Plank.  


A crack in a single block can cause weaknesses across the other blocks they are positioned next to. This does not create issues with stability for the whole building, just small, isolated areas, and individual blocks.  


This method is no longer used in the UK and no specific information on structural performance or failure of this type of floor slab construction have been found during construction.  


This first report allows us to determine the cause and possible solutions to this issue but makes it clear that we don’t expect this to be easily resolved.


We would like to reiterate that all school buildings in North Tyneside followed Health and Safety law, had regular checks and maintenance programmes and the issue identified is not something that showed up in any of the checks or audits.


What happens next?


Working together with the individual schools, the Department for Education, and structural engineers we will start to explore remedial works that will allow two-storey building to reopen when it is safe and appropriate to do so.


As we shared with you late last week, our modular classrooms have been ordered and work will begin to prepare our site for the buildings to be constructed from next week.


These classrooms will have mains lighting and heating, hot and cold water, connection to our fire alarm and security alarm system as well as direct access to toilet facilities.


We hope that today’s information gives you a better understanding of why we’ve had to take the precautionary steps we have.


Thank you once again for your understanding.



Julie Firth                                                              Claire Withers

Director Children’s Services                               Headteacher


North Tyneside Council                                     Fordley Primary School












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