Welcome home Pinner Wood! School celebrates reopening just months after chalk mines closure


Harrow’s top primary school returns to Pinner nine months after evacuation

  • Community comes together to party in the playground before class
  • Head teacher thanks Harrow Council, staff, parents and pupils


    It isn’t the usual start to a cold Monday school morning… vibrant street entertainers, explosive glitter cannons and a sound system pumping out music greeting the children trooping through the gates with parents and carers in tow.

    But Pinner Wood is quite an extraordinary school.

    It reopened for the start of term at its Latimer Gardens site – just as the Council promised. Nine months ago it was closed after chalk mines in dangerous condition were discovered underneath.

    Now, the holes have all been filled and the land made safe. And hundreds of staff, parents, pupils and supporters – who once feared they would never again set foot on the site – came together to mark the occasion with this festival of colour.

    Cllr Sachin Shah, Leader of Harrow Council, said: “I’ve never been happier. I made a promise to parents that we’d get them back on this site by today – and here we are on the first day of the Spring Term.

    “Being part of a community is part of the essence of what a school is and getting Pinner Wood back home to where it belongs is wonderful to celebrate.”

    It was a double celebration as the school, despite the upheaval and disruption of being taught at temporary sites, has also recently been declared the No.1 primary school in Harrow. Pupils’ outstanding Key Stage 2 results pushed it right to the top of the league table.

    Head Teacher Sarah Marriott thanked her “outstanding” staff, supportive parents and resilient children, telling the crowd: ‘It’s a huge moment coming back home today for the whole school community. In the early days we didn’t even know if it would be possible for us to ever make it back here.

     “It’s a credit to everyone involved and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of the Council – in the decision-making, deciding it could be fixed and finding the funding to do it, and also the day-to-day running of our relocation.”

    She also praised the children’s “extraordinary resilience” as she drew attention to their impressive Key Stage 2 results. “The children’s determination, their strength, cooperation and being able to get along with each other is incredible,” she added. “They’ve taught us how resilience makes you stronger.”

    Some £5million has been spent on repairing and improving Pinner Wood. All the voids underneath caused by historic chalk mine tunnels have now been filled and made safe. Some 5,000 tonnes of silt went underground to stabilise it – this is equal to the weight of 1,250 elephants and makes the site one of the safest in the UK. Only car park expansion works, to alleviate parking pressure in surrounding roads, are ongoing.