‘Well-liked’ school worker drops dead in playground

A school staff member died of a heart attack on the playground this morning. De La Salle School, in Basildon, shut after the “unexpected incident”. The headteacher has confirmed Mr Steve Hutchinson, a “well-liked and respected member of school staff”, died.

Paramedics were called after Mr Hutchinson collapsed but failed to revive him.

The school is expected to remain closed tomorrow after pupils were sent home this morning.

Headteacher Paul Norris said: “Sadly a member of the school staff was taken unexpectedly ill this morning and later died.”

He added: “Mr Steve Hutchinson, a long-serving member of site staff, will be very deeply missed. I have spoken with his family, expressed my personal condolences and shared the sadness and prayers of the whole school community.

“I wish to praise school staff for their exemplary swift action this morning. Emergency services were immediately called and quickly arrived. Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, Mr Hutchinson died.

“Long established emergency procedures worked out by the school, in partnership with the local authority, were immediately enacted.

“After discussions with the local authority, governing body and diocese, the school was closed today and will remain closed to most pupils tomorrow, Tuesday 7th March.

“The school will reopen as normal to all pupils on Wednesday 8th March.

“Arrangements are in place for vulnerable pupils and remote learning will be provided for all pupils at home. Year 11 should attend school as normal and continue with their mock exams.”

Counselling has been arranged to help staff and pupils through their loss.

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