Popular school blasted after hygiene inspectors find ‘dirty’ kitchen areas and rodent droppings

A school on the outskirts of Stockport has made a number of improvements itself after being blasted by hygiene inspectors who found evidence of rodents and suspected mice droppings on site.

Hygiene inspectors visiting the kitchen area at Knutsford Academy in Cheshire, which has 1200 students between the ages of 11 and 18, found chewed-through electrical wires inside the freezers and ‘dirty’ kitchen floors. Ivy was also found in the dry food store area.

The inspection by Cheshire East council also noted a ‘large number of items on the floor of the kitchen dry store’ that prevented staff from effectively checking for pests. The Academy said the kitchens are run by a third-party and not the school itself.

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Cheshire East Council’s Hygiene Inspector said, as reported by Cheshire Live, that contraventions observed during the audit included: “Rodent droppings, nibbled packaging and nibbled electrical wiring/insulation found in [the] freezer food store of the upper school, including on pizza food packaging.

The floor throughout the upper kitchen was dirty especially at floor/wall junctions and behind or below equipment. There were a large number of items on the floor in the upper kitchen dry store meaning staff were unable to effectively clean or check for pests.” The hygiene inspector added that there was a “dirty/dusty vent with ivy growing through in [the] dry store [of the] lower school.”

Knutsford Academy

Nichola Phillips, a spokesperson for Knutsford Academy, said: “Our kitchens are run by an outside company, it’s not actually the school that runs the kitchen. When Cheshire East came in, there was no food that was actually contaminated.

“We had a number of things that we needed to do which were all done within a month. We are actually waiting for them [Cheshire East Council’s hygiene inspector] to come back at the moment. We thought they were going to come back before Easter, and we’re hoping they’ll come back this half-term. Obviously we don’t want a rating that low in a school.”

Ms Phillips continued: “We’ve cut all the ivy back from the outside, that’s all been killed off and that’s all been fixed. There were things like the plastic cartons – there was nothing wrong with the plastic cartons themselves – but the fact that they were stored on the floor instead of on wheels was an issue, and we’ve now fixed that.

“We had some wooden boards that they said were old and that we needed to replace them, so obviously they’ve gone and we’ve got new ones in. In the freezer room, it’s just a brick wall room and we keep freezers in it.

“In that room, behind the freezer, they did find some rodent droppings. They went through the rest of the kitchens … where all the food was kept there was no rodent droppings whatsoever.

“But in the room where the freezers are kept – and obviously there’s food inside the freezers – there were some rodent droppings behind the freezer and some of the cabling had been gnawed. We think they were coming in where the ivy was coming through the wall.

“We did a very thorough … check of the freezers themselves. They weren’t inside the freezers, they weren’t inside the freezer mechanisms … we’re still not quite sure how they got there.

“We had the Cheshire pest people come in, they put stuff down. Nothing has been caught and there’s been no rat droppings. There’s a very, very thorough twice-daily check that goes on now to make sure there’s nothing in that room.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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