A SCHOOL is hoping to reopen next week after a ceiling of the Victorian building collapsed into a classroom.

St Mary Magdalen’s RC Primary School in Accrington said the collapse, which left equipment and furnishings covered in thick black soot, prompted an emergency assessment as to the safety of the building.

The works and assessments at the Devonshire Street school meant the start of term has been delayed. St Mary Magdalen’s said after a ‘fraught few weeks’ replacing equipment and restructuring the roof, the school is ready to open on Monday.

The collapse of the roof during the weekend of August 11 and 12 and is thought to be due to faults in the structure of the building.

In an update posted for parents online, headteacher Karen Hardman said: “It was in no way due to any current building work but was found to be due to the Victorian fabric of the building. This could not have be foreseen, a question which was asked many times of the site engineer. At this point the question of the school opening on time was not in doubt.

“It was decided classrooms should safety checked and that this process would involve removing the ceiling tiles and insulation to see the Victorian structure underneath. It was then decided to insert further safety beams into all ceilings, even though they were sound.

“This has been a very fraught three weeks where safety of all has been the first concern. We have worked continuously with builders and consultants to push for the school opening as early as possible and causing the least disruption.”

Text messages were sent out to parents informing them of a delay to the start of term. However it is thought that ongoing work at the school may have interrupted the school’s electronic communications.

The school building is now said to have been rendered safe by removing the suspended ceiling and inserting new beams under existing ones. The school then needed to be cleaned out and new equipment ordered.