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Two schools in Whitechapel shut after infestation of False Widow spiders

PUBLISHED: 17:03 13 November 2015 | UPDATED: 19:26 13 November 2015

Closed... Whitechapel's Thomas Buixton School hit by invasion of the False Widow spider [street photo: Google]

Closed... Whitechapel's Thomas Buixton School hit by invasion of the False Widow spider [street photo: Google]

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Children at two primary schools in London’s East End have had to be kept at home because of infestations of venomous spiders.

Pupils at both Thomas Buxton and Osmani in Whitechapel were told not come to school.

Thomas Buxton School's coding club [picture: school's website]Thomas Buxton School's coding club [picture: school's website]

Thomas Buxton is shut until November 23, but Osmani is reopening on Monday. The schools are just 400 yards apart.

The False Widow spiders are Britain’s most venomous and can give “a nasty bite which may cause an allergic reaction in vulnerable people”, the schools warn.

Nests and eggs were found at Thomas Buxton Primary in Buxton Street and at Osmani Primary round the corner in Vallance Road. Both have been closed for fumigation.

“Pest control teams are currently on the premises of both schools,” a Tower Hamlets spokesman said.

“The false widow spiders are not considered dangerous—but they do bite.

“The schools will be closed until next week due to health concerns for pupils and staff.”

The local authority is advising parents who could be worried about their children if they have signs of spider bites so see their GP.

Both schools published a statement on their websites saying: “We have to take immediate action to deal with the problem and are sorry for the disruption to family life and the children’s learning.”

The Department for Education was aware of the closures.

False Widow spiders are Britain’s most venomous, but there are no reported deaths from its bite in this country. It has distinctive cream markings on its bulbous body and is brown with reddish-orange legs, usually found in warm, dark places.


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