School forced to close due to spider infestation as 1,500 students sent home

29 September 2021, 14:13

A school has had to close in Northampton due to a spider infestation
A school has had to close in Northampton due to a spider infestation. Picture: Google maps/Alamy

Over 1,500 students have been sent home from a school in Northampton after the discovery of a spider infestation.

A school in Northampton has been forced to send 1,500 students home after an infestation of spiders was discovered.

Duston School shut today, with headteacher Sam Strickland confirming that students wouldn’t be able to return to the school grounds until the false widow spiders had been removed.

Mr Strickland added that pupils would have to return to online teaching while the building is cleaned.

Duston School has been closed due to a spider infestation
Duston School has been closed due to a spider infestation. Picture: Google maps

A letter, sent to parents on Tuesday (September 28), said: "Please be advised that due to a suspected outbreak of False Black Widow Spiders we are regrettably having to close both phases of the school to all pupils and staff tomorrow (Wednesday) to allow the situation to be assessed and for the school to be cleaned.

“A decision regarding the re-opening of the school will be made following an update tomorrow and this will be communicated to you accordingly.

“I cannot apologise enough for the inconvenience that this may cause you, especially in terms of organising child care arrangements.

“Work will be set for all of our pupils to complete at home via Microsoft Teams. I will update you as soon as I have any further news.”

False widow spiders are often mistaken for widows
False widow spiders are often mistaken for widows. Picture: Alamy

This is the second school in Northamptonshire to close because of false widows this month, after Malcolm Arnold Academy was closed two weeks ago.

What is a false widow spider?

A false widow spider is often confused with the dangerous black widow as both have a similar dark-coloured, globular body.

While they do have a venomous bite, they are mostly harmless and very rarely attack humans.

Most of the time, there will be some slight soreness and redness for between one and 12 hours, and rarely for more than 24 hours.

While there are over 650 species of spider known to live in the UK, only around 12 of these are recorded to have bitten humans.