UPDATE: School closed after power cut in Smithills
A POWER cut in Smithills left 2,000 homes without electricity and forced a school to close.
A damaged underground cable was blamed for the power failure in parts of Smithills.
St Peter’s Smithills Dean was shut in the morning and the Bolton Pupil Referral Unit Youth Challenge was forced to make alternative arrangements for its students.
Other schools were affected but had their power restored within two hours. Electricity North West said there had been a “high voltage fault”.
By mid-morning only three properties were without power and power to all properties was restored by the afternoon.
A spokesman for Electricity North West said: “Power was affected at 8.05am and the vast majority of had the power restored by 8.13am.
“There was a school and two domestic properties without power and our priority was then to restore power to those properties.”
“The cause is third party cable damage underground.”
Paul Hodgkinson, head of PRU service, said: “We were told the power would be on hopefully by 11.30am but there was a chance it would not be restored until 5.30pm — it came back on at 9.30am.
“We had a staff briefing at 8.30am and took the decision send our mentoring team into the community to work with the pupils.”
Young people worked from home and undertook community projects, including working on a farm.
Mr Hodgkinson said: “The most important element was safeguarding, which we did. The feedback I received is that the pupils are enjoying it.
“They did have an education but not in the traditional sense.” Smithills Dean headteacher Christine Lancashire said parents were alerted by the teacher to parent messaging services.
She said: “The power went off at 8.05am and all the staff were in school.
“The emergency line stated the power would not be back on until 11.30am and the decision was taken to close the school for the morning for health and safety reasons.
“We did not have kitchen facilities for children’s lunches and the school was dark.
“The decision was taken in the best interests of children and I would like to thank the parents for their support.
“They were super as were the children, who all returned in the afternoon.”
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