Children left to freeze in the classrooms after head turns off heating on coldest day of year 'to show how school can be eco-friendly

The Useless School Head.

 Furious parents vented their anger at a headteacher who turned off his school’s heating on one of the coldest days of the year.

Pupils at Ansford Academy in Castle Cary, Somerset, were forced to grip their pens through thick gloves and wear their coats and hats in class as temperatures dropped to 1C.
The school’s headmaster, Rob Benzie, shut down the radiators as an experiment to show students how the school could cut its carbon footprint.

But staff and parents condemned the plan, branding it ‘barbaric’ and ‘beyond stupid’.
One teacher said: ‘It was absolutely ridiculous I have never experienced working in such cold conditions.
‘I am all for saving the environment but to conduct an “experiment” as the head calls it on such a cold day is beyond stupid.
‘The kids were complaining, no one was working properly some of them could not even write because they could not grip a pen through woolly gloves.
‘We have a number of pupils with mental and physical disabilities here and they really struggled with the cold.
‘It was unnecessary and in my opinion barbaric.’
Temperatures dropped as low as one degree Celsius in Castle Carey last Friday – the coldest of the winter so far.
It was the first ‘eco day’ at the 640-pupil school, which caters for 11-16 year olds.
A mother, whose 12-year-old daughter goes to the school, said: ‘My daughter was physically shaking when she came home.
‘When I heard about this eco day I was absolutely furious.
‘I wanted to take my daughter out of school but I was worried I’d get into trouble with the authorities.’
Ansford Academy, pictured, in Castle Cary, Somerset, has 640 pupils aged 11-16, some of which have mental or physical disabilities
One father said: ‘I was just shocked when I found out what had happened.
‘I have never heard of such a ridiculous idea. Turning off all the heating in December is just mental.
‘The kids could get sick I can’t believe any of them learnt anything.
‘I know when I am cold I can hardly function. I’m absolutely furious with the school.’
But headteacher Mr Benzie, 52, defended the day, saying it was ‘a success.’
‘We turned off the heating as an experiment to see if we can lower our carbon footprint,’ he said.
‘We allowed pupils to wear as many jumpers as they liked and everyone seemed to be happy enough although it did get pretty chilly.
‘We gave letters to pupils to take home to their parents informing them about the eco day.
‘We only had one complaint and that came from a member of staff but they just got on with it in the end.’
Mr Benzie said he hoped to repeat the eco day again next term.
‘I considered the day a success, said.
‘In fact I believe we have too much heating.
‘On occasions I have had to turn it down as too much heat can make the students fall asleep.
‘The idea was actually thought up by a small group of pupils from our student eco-group.
‘I would like to make eco day a regular event.’
The school was built in 1940 and became an academy in July this year.
Mr Benzie has run the school since 2001 and achieved 85 per cent in A to C grades in this year’s GCSE results.
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