INTREPID staff and students at Hanley Castle High School have defied flooding to break the school's attendance record.
Students have felt the impact of the floods since well before Christmas, but despite long detours, increased journey times and rural congestion, attendance rates for the academic year 2013/14 are still higher than any previous year.
And head Lindsey Cooke has described the figures as a tribute to the school community.
Jamie York, aged 13, travels by coach from Kinnersley, and although the flooding has increased his journey time by over twenty minutes, he has not missed a day.
He said: “It’s inconvenient but you have to put your education first.”
George Weaver, 14, has also never missed a day. He said: “We live on a farm in a valley. All the water is flowing down into the fields. The sheep are getting wet and basically freezing to death. We’re really worried with the lambing season approaching.”
Jack Walton, 16, cycles from Hanley Swan, and his journey has been affected, not by floodwater but by the dramatic increase in traffic as cars use the village as a detour.
Oliver Sutton, 12, who travels via Kempsey, suggested the road between Upton and Hanley Castle should be raised, or protected by a flood barrier. However, he is not to be deterred from his studies. “Once my parents actually drove me to the school through a field,” he said.
Staff are also affected. Biology teacher Sharon Griffiths, who lives near the river Wye, said: "I regularly start my day wading through floodwater in the dark, often whilst trying to keep pupils’ books out of the water."
Mrs Cooke said: “It’s a tribute to all members of the school community that attendance is actually improving at a time when the school is virtually cut off from the outside world. "e share our students’ concerns regarding the impact of flooding on local businesses and farms; however, the exam season is fast approaching and for our students it is very much business as usual.”