Pinner Wood School KS1 pupils not moving to St Jerome COE Bilingual School.

I have had confirmation from Harrow Council that the KS1 pupils will not be temporarily relocating to St Jerome’s School but instead reception, year 1 and year 2 will move in to buildings on the Civic Centre site that were previously occupied by Marlborough School.

Part of the issue was to do with safety issues surrounding the drop off point at St Jerome School.

A meeting is being held tonight at the Harrow Arts Centre for parents who received email notification yesterday afternoon.

Heath Robinson Museum needs volunteers!

Looking for something interesting and worthwhile to do?

Heath Robinson Museum needs volunteers!

The Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner Memorial Park opened last October, and many local people have said what an asset it is to Pinner. Although the Heritage Lottery Fund supported the building of the Museum, it relies on volunteers to operate.

Would you like to do something really important for this wonderful local cultural centre? Why not volunteer?

The Museum needs Front of House volunteers to welcome visitors, and many other people behind the scenes doing a variety of jobs. Do you have skills you’d like to use? We need a Fundraising Manager, a Front of House Coordinator, a Group Visits Coordinator and more.

Find the opportunities on Volunteer here

Pinner Wood School Closure – Local Residents’ Meeting 28th March 2017

Notes written by R. Boff, The Pinner Association.

These notes are not approved minutes of this meeting and should not be used a true record for any purpose.

Harrow Council have held a public meeting, primarily for residents’ local to Pinner Wood School, to inform them why the school had had to be closed so suddenly on the 23rd March, what was to be done over the next few months, and what may be the long-term outcome for the school site.  700 letters inviting residents to attend the meeting at West Lodge School had been distributed to the residents local to the school site, and a further 4,000 letters had informed residents of the school closure.

After a void appeared in the school’s staff car park in the summer of 2015, Harrow Council employed specialist geotechnical and structural engineers to undertake a thorough survey of the ground beneath the school site near to the location of the void.  These 360 degree rotary three dimensional laser surveys, undertaken by drilling many small boreholes, revealed that over 20 metres beneath part of the school building there are tunnels from old chalk mines.  The laser surveys were unable to find the total lengths of these tunnels, as they were longer than the range of the equipment.  Additionally, the laser surveys revealed that these tunnels were beginning to degrade.

The professional advice to the Council was that the roofs of the tunnels may continue to collapse, causing instability in the ground above, which may, in the worst case, cause more voids to appear, some of which may be under the school buildings.  As this could put the pupils and staff of the school at risk the decision to close the school immediately was made by senior Council Officers and Councillors.  Having the site clear of children and staff would also mean that the necessary additional surveys to establish the extent of the old mines could be undertaken more quickly.

The closure of the school was announced on March 23rd.  For the last week of the Spring Term to Y6 Pinner Wood School classes were accommodated at Whitefriars School.  After the Easter school holiday the KS2 classes will be accommodated at Whitefriars School, KS1 classes will be accommodated at the St Jerome C of E School, both of these being in the Wealdstone area. The Pinner Wood School pupils would remain in their existing class groups and be taught by the Pinner Wood School staff, to keep the integrity of the school intact.   Coach travel to and from school was to be organised for all the pupils, but as yet safe and convenient pick up and drop off venues had not been identified.  The Pinner Wood Nursery would relocate to the Pinner Hill Community Hall, Pinner Hill Road, near to the school site.   Over the Easter holidays the school staff and Council would remove equipment and furniture from the school.

The experts present at the meeting could not give an estimate of how long the school may need to be shut, as that would depend on what the further survey work revealed.  The best case would be for the old mine tunnels to be limited in extent and suitable for stabilisation by filling in with concrete, in which case the school could reopen relatively quickly, possibly within 6 to 12 months.  However, if the ground could not be stabilised the current school building may need to be demolished and a new school built on a different part of the current site, if possible, or even on a different site in the Pinner area.  This would mean a long term relocation of the school would be necessary while such construction took place.

Local residents were able to question the Chief Executive of Harrow Council, Michael Lockwood, and the professional experts present on matter of concern:

Q:  Would the vacant school site be secured?

A:  This was being arranged, with a commercial security firm already employed to ensure the security of the site.

Q:  Would financial assistance be available from central Government?

A:  Harrow Council were applying for special funds from various Government departments, and were taking advice from other Local Authorities which had had similar problems.  Harrow Council had money in place for the current surveys, but any remedial works may be very expensive.

Q:  What was to happen to the groups that usually used the Pinner Hill Community Hall while this was taken over by the Pinner Wood School Nursery?  A weekly Bingo Club, a Toddlers’ group and a Youth Group all regularly used the Community Hall.

A:  Other venues would be sought for these community groups.

(Since the meeting Pinner Cricket Club have kindly offered their premises for the weekly Pinner Hill Community Tenants’ & Residents’ Association (PHT&RA) Bingo which is held every Wednesday afternoon.  Debbie Steers, Chair of the Pinner Hill Community Tenants’ & Residents’ Association (PHT&RA), said:

“This is wonderful news!  And our thanks go to the Pinner Cricket Club.  We are currently working with Harrow Council to find a temporary home for the PHT&RA Toddlers’ Club and Youth Club, including the equipment.  We have been offered Marsh Road Community Hall but unfortunately this is not big enough to accommodate the clubs and their equipment.”

If anyone knows of a large hall in the area that PHT&RA could use for these clubs and store their equipment, please email the Pinner Association on [email protected] )

Q:  Residents were aware that there are old mines in the area, but has the Council any information about the location of all these mines?

A:   The council has maps of the known mines in the area, but there may be other unknown mines yet to be discovered;  the “unknown unknown” nature of the information was one of the problems being faced on the school site.

Q:  Do the tunnels found so far extend off the school site?  Might they run under private property?

A:  Until further survey work was done it was not known the extent of the tunnels that have been found, but there was no evidence as yet that they did extend further than the school site.  If the tunnels ran under the adjacent public highway it would again be the responsibility of the Council to ensure the stability of the road, but the Council were not responsible for any privately owned land.  However, they would inform any residents whose property may be affected.

Q:  Could the Council create a portal on the Council website as a central point for all information about the Pinner Wood School site and could this be kept updated with all new information discovered as a result of the on-going surveys?

A:  Michael Lockwood thought it would be a very good idea to put all the information in one place accessible for the residents and this would be done as soon as possible.

Q:  Would the findings at the school site affect planning policy in the area?

A:  At present there would be no change in planning policy in the area, and all planning applications would be decided using the usual criteria.

Q:  Are there any more chalk mines in the area?

A:  This is not known.  The Council were consulting Ken Kirkman, the author of a definitive book on the chalk mines of Pinner (present at the meeting), and use his expert knowledge.

Q:  What would happen to the site if it could not be used for a school building in future?

A:  Technically the site can be made safe, but it may not be suitable for school building.  The Council would ensure that the site was put into a safe condition.

Q: How extensive could the found tunnel be; could they connect with the known mine entrance in Norman Crescent?

A:  Unlikely, as generally this type of tunnel was a maximum of 100 metres long.  The mines were often “family mines” and were small scale; this may be why there is no record of these tunnels on the deeds of the land of the school site, nor were any “abandonment plans” registered for these workings.

Q:  Are the tunnels flooded?

A:  This is unlikely, as generally these mines were dug above the water table.  Any water in the tunnels would be seasonable runoff.

Q:  The houses in Latimer Gardens are some 80 years old, and the school was built in 1939.  There have been very few instances of settlement in the houses in the area and should it be assumed that the ground is basically stable?

A:  Agreed.

Q:   When would more information be available for the residents?

A:  In three or four months the surveys should have revealed more information on the extent of the mines.  Residents should wait for that information before considering taking any action with respect to their own properties.






Pinner Wood School – Residents Meeting Presentation

Harrow Council have kindly provided us with the presentation slides from  the Residents Meeting held on 28th March

Daniel Lester Head of Communications at Harrow Council stated the following in an email

We are focusing at the moment on getting everything right for the Summer Term temporary arrangements for children, parents and the school – we should be able to focus more clearly on communicating with residents from next week.

Presentation Notes

Update on Pinner Wood School Class Locations

I have received a message from “St. Jérôme Church of England Bilingual School”

During Thursday, Friday and over the weekend the team at St. Jérôme Church of England Bilingual School, along with the London Diocesan Board for Schools and Harrow Council have been working to assist with a solution for Pinner Wood School.

A letter has just been emailed to our parents, that you can also read here.

We are currently working on a FAQ page, but as you can imagine we have been a little busy. We believe in the Christian value of Outrageous Hospitality – so we could not but offer to help.

Pinner Wood School -Parents Factsheet

Following the parents meeting this week as factsheet has been produced and can be accessed by clicking on the following link

Although the email address on the above document states [email protected] a new specific email has now been set up to deal with any queries over the closure.

This is [email protected]


Local Residents Meeting Regarding Closure Of Pinner Wood School

If you are a local resident and would like to know more about the closure of Pinner Park School, a meeting is being held.

Location:  West Lodge School

Date:          28 March

Time:          7pm

If  you are concerned or have any other queries please email    [email protected]

This meeting is primarily for the 700 residents that received a letter with the date included.


Headteachers Letter to Parents

Headteacher – Mrs D Spruce Latimer Gardens, Pinner, Middx, HA5 3RA Telephone No: 0208 868 2468 Fax No: 0208 429 1629

E-mail: [email protected] Website:

23 March 2017

Dear Parents/Carers

Today we have had to take the very sad and difficult decision to close the site of Pinner Wood School from the end of the school day. We understand what a tremendous blow this will be for everyone, but we have to put the safety of the children first and follow the recommendations of the Council and industry experts.

Please do come to tonight’s meetings at West Lodge School at 6pm and 8pm to find out more about the decision and arrangements for the future.

We have always prided ourselves that Pinner Wood is a special school. A place of excellence, happiness and caring.

We are all determined the school we know and love will continue and we have the people here who will make that possible. I know we will come together as staff, governors, parents and children to ensure the spirit of Pinner Wood continues.

We are moving fast to secure new settings for our classes in the Summer Term. It is our preference to have the school together on a local site and so we will be working with the governors and the Local Authority to achieve that as soon as possible.

Children are not to come to school tomorrow, Friday 24th March. From Monday 27th March, Year 6 will take a week of classes at Whitefriars School. From Wednesday 19th April years 3, 4 and 5 will join year 6 at Whitefriars School. Reception, year 1 and year 2 will move in to buildings on the Civic Centre site that were previously occupied by Marlborough School. I will give you further details of classes and transport offer as soon as I have them and offer you the opportunity to visit your children there when we are settled.

Our thanks to the Local Authority and Chris Spruce, Head of Whitefriars School for making this possible so quickly.

Going forward we will contact you by parent mail and posting messages on the website. We will do everything we can to keep you fully informed of the emerging picture. Thank you for your support.

Yours sincerely

Mrs D Spruce Headteacher