School closed due to spiders as 1,500 students sent home over infestation

A false widow spider is often confused with the more dangerous black widow, and they do bite, but very rarely attack humans.

Some 1,500 students have been sent home from school after a suspected false widow spider infestation.

Duston School, in Northampton, closed its doors today following a suspected outbreak of the eight-legged critters.

A false widow spider is often confused with the more dangerous black widow, and they do bite, but very rarely attack humans.

They are often sighted at this time of year, and in what the Wildlife Trust describes as “extremely rare” cases of humans being bitten by them, it is compared to a wasp’s sting.

If confirmed, the infestation would be the second to shut a Northamptonshire school in as many weeks.

Malcolm Arnold Academy had to shut temporarily earlier this month on on Friday, September 17, after a similar situation, Northants Live reported.

The school, on Northampton’s Trinity Avenue, was evacuated earlier this month after a “small number” of false widow spiders were seen on site.

Students also stayed at home on the following Monday, while the incident was dealt with.

In a letter sent to all parents, Duston principal Sam Strickland confirmed that both the primary and secondary phases of the school would be forced to close.

He said that all staff and students will not be able to attend the school while the arachnids are removed.

But pupils will not be getting a day off with teachers set to provide online work to be completed.

The 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. However, the health and safety of the school community must come first and foremost.

“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.”