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UPDATE: High winds send solar panels crashing through Norfolk school roof

PUBLISHED: 10:07 05 January 2012 | UPDATED: 16:42 05 January 2012

Tim Phillips head teacher of Acle High School
Photo: Jerry Daws
Copy: 
©Archant Photographic 2010
01603 772434

Tim Phillips head teacher of Acle High School Photo: Jerry Daws Copy: ©Archant Photographic 2010 01603 772434

©Archant Photographic 2010

A NORFOLK school was left picking up the pieces after high winds ripped solar panels from a roof and sent them crashing into their boys' toilets.

The damage forced Acle High School to close today [Thursday January 5] through fears the wind may put children and staff at risk.

Severe gusts created thousands of pounds worth of damage when two solar panels smashed into the glass ceiling of the boy’s toilets. Elsewhere, school skylights were also broken.

However, headteacher Tim Philips has moved to reassure parents and pupils that the school on South Walsham Road, Acle, is now safe and will reopen its doors tomorrow [Friday January 6].

He said: “We have got things under control now and the school will be open.

“These solar panels are quite big and weigh about 30kg, so imagine one of these thing sailing through the air - it becomes a lethal weapon- but things are looking brighter now.

“My major worry was that if I opened the school I would endanger the pupils and staff.”

The wind damaged a third of the school’s solar panels, which were part of a green energy and education project where more than 100 panels were to be installed on the roof.

But Mr Phillips said the damage will not be paid for by the school, but by the company contracted to install them.

Meanwhile, the school is currently seeking planning permission to erect an on-site wind turbine.

Parents and children discovered the school was closed when Norfolk County Council posted a message on their website stating that Acle High School was “unsafe due to flying debris from loose roofing and solar panels.”

For more information, contact Acle High School on 01493 750431.

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