We are writing to you given the media reports in the last 24 hours relating to Belmayne ETNS and fire safety issues. We appreciate this has raised concerns for you as a parent/guardian and we would like to give you a brief update.
On Friday evening,1st Sept, Sinéad received a call from the Department of Education (Dept) stating that an email had been forwarded to herself and the Chairperson and that a fire safety report was being released. This report had not been previously issued to the Board of Management (BOM). It is important to note that the BOM oversee the running of the school and Sinéad as Principal manages the school on a day to day basis.
The school we occupy is a temporary building and the Dept liaises directly with the owners Western Building System (WBS) on our behalf.
For additional context to the media reports, on the 23rd of August Sinéad received an email from the Dept asking if WBS could come into the school to carry out works. At this time, Sinéad requested why WBS needed access and was provided with a summary outlining the works required, which would facilitate the safe operation of the school.
Following that, Sinéad contacted the BOM to advise them of the contact by the Dept and agreed to allow WBS access to the site. Sinéad also sought written assurances from the Dept that the school could reopen as planned. This assurance was given on the 23rd August, subject to the works proceeding.
On the 29th and 30th August, WBS came into the school and conducted work in the school prior to opening and later this month WBS will come in again to carry out the remaining additional works.
Sinéad again was assured on the morning of the 30th August that the school was safe but that works would need to be carried out.
The BOM and members of the management team met on the 2nd September and based on the assurance given by the Dept of Education and also by the fire officer in Dublin Fire Brigade, (read below) determined that we will continue to operate as usual.
“With regard to your further query regarding the School building, I wish to advise that the Department, along with representatives from Western Building Systems, met with the Fire Officer in Dublin Fire Brigade in May and agreed the general approach being undertaken. Oppermann Associates have since informed the Fire Officer of the scope of works involved and have confirmed that “the schools at Belmayne are considered to be safe and fit for continued occupation. The schools have adequate means of escape and functioning life safety systems (Fire Alarm and Emergency Lighting systems).”
The BOM has contacted the patron for support and will be in contact with the Dept to ensure any works outlined in the report will be carried out and to seek out additional information. As such, BETNS will continue as per normal. However the BOM will keep the situation under strict review.
For additional information, fire evacuation procedures and fire drills are carried out repeatedly to ensure that the whole school is evacuated in less than three minutes.
Sinéad and members of the BOM will meet with staff and the PC before opening on Monday morning to relay same information.
Any further information given to Sinead and the BOM will be shared with school community via email and Message Cue.
Is mise le meas,
Chairperson Belmayne ETNS Board of Management
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