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Large rats infesting British schools

Posted on: Friday, February 27th, 2015

There have been a number of reports in the media lately about the importance of improving standards in schools.

Much of the focus has centred around exam results, assessments and the quality of teaching.

However, the appearance and maintenance of schools has not received nearly as much attention.

This is resulting in many school buildings being neglected and deteriorating over time. Not only is this potentially having a detrimental effect on the wellbeing and productivity of those who use these schools, it could also be having a severe impact on the health of both children and schoolteachers.

Rat infestations

Even more worryingly, there have been recent reports of large rats plaguing some schools and surrounding areas.

Two schools in Portsmouth hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons lately after it was found that rats of up to one foot long were spotted in them.

The Northern Parade federated infants and junior schools have both reported problems with rodents, leaving parents worried about their children's health.

Exterminators were called into the buildings, after the large rodents were spotted scurrying around.

In an interview published by the Mirror, headteacher Sue Wilson, said: "We've been working with pest control services and there haven't been any further sightings since we returned from the half-term break.

"We hope that this is now resolved but we'll continue to monitor the area as the health and well-being of our pupils and staff are our main priority."

The revelations were made after it was reported that the British Pest Control Association claimed that such rodents are increasing by about 15 per cent each year.

This is thought to be down to the increasing availability of food. The organisation said that they are being inundated with more and more calls, due to inadequate measures being taken on farms and in city sewers.

John McNeice, director of Scottish Pest Control Services, said: “We see big rats in cold stores. The rats grow a very thick fur. That can make them look bigger.

“You might see a rat under a pallet that looks as big as a cat.”

A freedom of information act request submitted by Labour found that pest control budgets have been cut by 24.4 per cent on average since 2010, across 200 local authorities. There has also been a 16 per cent reduction in the amount of investment street cleaning

Importance of regular maintenance

The revelations highlight the importance of not only ensuring that school buildings are cleaned regularly, but that food sources are secured.

For this reason, a regular cleaning schedule which covers the entire school is essential to avoid any mess building up.

Failure to maintain the cleanliness of a school building can also have a negative impact on the reputation of a school, in addition to the health of those who use it.

Therefore, any investment into the maintenance of school buildings will be worth the expenditure.