Thetford Academy left behind thousands of pounds worth of equipment
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
An academy left up to £40,000 of equipment at an old school site after leaving it empty last year, it has been revealed.
Thetford Academy departed the former Charles Burrell High School, in Staniforth Road, in July last year as it moved to its new £18m single site in Croxton Road.
But instead of taking equipment with them, items including desks, tables, chairs, filing cabinets and whiteboards were left behind.
The abandoned items, paid for with taxpayers' money by the academy, stayed at the former school site until the building was taken on in May this year by the Charles Burrell Centre, a community facility run by Thetford Town Council.
Its manager, county councillor Terry Jermy, said the centre took ownership of the items upon signing a lease, and has now started selling them off and donating them to other schools.
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'When we came here there was piles of stuff. Desks, tables, chairs, projectors, interactive whiteboards. We're talking £30,000 to £40,000 worth.
'Some of it had just been thrown in a skip and I was pulling it out so we can make use of it,' he said.
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The centre is now in negotiations with Thetford Grammar School to sell them between £3,000 and £4,000 of furniture. It has already sold £820 worth to a King's Lynn-based furniture recycling outlet, Rustic Warehouse.
Other items have been given to Thetford AP Free School, and other schools in Norfolk.
As well as the valuable furniture items, the school had a kitchen kitted out with chest freezers, commercial-standard ovens and extractors. A number of interactive whiteboards –worth more than £1,000 apiece – were also left.
Mr Jermy added that a number of sensitive items had also been found in the school's offices – including pictures of former pupils, old test results and cheque books.
There were also more unusual items left behind, such as two dead tarantulas, a bird skeleton and scores of desks, complete with 30 years of graffiti.
The Inspiration Trust – which currently runs Thetford Academy – last month came under fire after it emerged in a national newspaper that it had spent £11,000 on luxury furniture, including £2,775 on a table.
However, a spokesman for the Trust said the decision to leave the items was taken by the now-dissolved Thetford Learning Trust, who ran the school at the time.
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