PART of a school is being held up with 60 tonnes of steel after it began to buckle because of rot.
Seaham School of Technology has lost 11 classrooms because of the structural problems, with the metalwork and netting drafted in to prop up the walls of the building.
Pupils are not allowed near the area, with teachers only able to enter the rooms under supervision to remove items needed to take classes.
Replacement, temporary classrooms have been built over the summer holidays to ensure lessons can go ahead without disruption.
It comes as the school’s bosses press on with plans to build a new £14million building in the town under the Government’s Priority Schools Project, which aims to replace those in the worst condition.
They have ensured problem sections of the site have been repaired or placed out of bounds, with a mobile boiler unit now up and running in the grounds after its old system could no longer be repaired.
The school has previously said it has had to pay up to £7.5million on repair bills to keep the school up to a safe standard.
The newly kitted-out rooms in place of the out-of-bound teaching spaces are now taking technology, science and intervention sessions, which offer extra support to students if they are struggling or are gifted and talented.
Headteacher David Shield said: “The wall had dropped due to excessive rot caused by the wet winter and deteriorated at a faster rate than anybody could have reasonably expected.
“The cost of repairs being well in excess of putting temporary classrooms up, that was the most cost-effective measure.”
With the whole school likely to demolished once the new base is ready, the problem area has been secured until the bulldozers move in to clear the plot.
Planning permission as been submitted to Durham County Council for the new school, which could be built on the former Seaham Colliery site if it is approved.
It would be built by Miller, which would take on the maintenance of the complex, and is scheduled to open in September 2016.
In the meantime, the students have added artwork to a cordoned off area, with a graphic artist brought in to work with a team on designs.