A Stoke-on-Trent school at the centre of an asbestos scare will be forced to close on safety grounds.

Pupils will not return to Sutherland Primary Academy, in Blurton, following the October half-term break. It had been previously reported in The Sentinel that 9 rooms had been shut after concerns that asbestos may have been disturbed on some of the walls of school, including classrooms, the boys’ toilets and the dining hall.

Subsequently, new safety advice warns there is the ‘potential of a major asbestos fall’ from the ceilings.

With the safety of pupils and staff being paramount, talks are being held to find an alternative site elsewhere in Stoke-on-Trent for the school.

Head teacher, Garry Boote, has warned pupils are unlikely to return to the site until Easter and that it could be taught in temporary buildings on the playing fields. The school has 510 pupils and 80 staff.

Mr Boote said: “The potential for the building to become unsafe is great. This would put children, staff and visitors at an unacceptable risk. We have now started planning for a move to an alternative school premises.”

Chairman of governors Kathy Niblett said: “The task of moving from the current site cannot be underestimated.

“We anticipate our use of an alternative premises will continue until Spring next year. We would then hope to return to the Sutherland site, either to a building with the asbestos removed or temporary school buildings on our field.”

Parents have been assured they will not have to meet the cost of paying for their children to get to and from the new school. But they will have to find additional childcare because the pupils will have an extra week off and not return to school until November 9.

Parent Jim Davis has called for a fund-raising campaign to help the school. It comes as the school is set to bid for up to £2 million emergency funding to try to remove the asbestos.

The 32-year-old, of Beaconsfield Drive, who has two children at the school, said: “The school has been here for a long time and it would be good to do something to help. The work needs to be done.”

A Government report has revealed dozens of Potteries’ schools are likely to be riddled with asbestos. Unfortunately it is estimated that more that 75% of schools in the UK contain asbestos, leaving a continued legacy of health problems which many have dubbed a ticking time-bomb. For this reason many campaigners urge the government to remove all asbestos from schools to protect both pupils and staff of the future.