STUDENTS were forced to work from home after a school was closed following an underground gas leak.

The Colne Community School and College, in Church Road, Brightlingsea, told students not to attend school today following the incident.

Engineers were called in to deal with the incident after a smell of gas was noticed near an underground boiler room on Thursday afternoon.

It was decided to cut off gas supplies and students were asked to stay at home on Friday and to carry on their learning remotely, as they did during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The school will also remain closed on Monday.

Neil Gallagher, executive headteacher, said: “There was a gas smell in the school so we called in gas engineers and they determined there was a subterranean leak.

“It was around the gas boiler room, which is subterranean.

“Staff have offices nearby, so we moved them out, but there are no classrooms nearby and no-one fell ill.

“We were advised about 6pm that the gas would need to be cut off. Engineers were on site on Friday morning and started excavation work.”

Mr Gallagher said students were told to revert to remote learning using Google Classroom.

He added: “We’ve become pretty expert at home learning over the lockdowns, so it was fairly easy to ask staff and students to move to that.

“There were some issues with laptops being left at school because we didn’t know about the need for the school to close until very late in the day.

One parent, who did not want to be named, said: “We’re not spitting tacks about it - it’s just one of those things.

“Fortunately I was not in work on Friday, so was able to help my child with school work but I’m sure it would have had a bigger impact on other parents who were meant to be at work.

“The school is so used to home learning now - it’s second nature to the kids and there were lesson plans in place.

“It’s just a shame they’ve missed a day in the classroom.”