A JERICHO school will get specialist steel tiles for its roof after youths climbing up to retrieve footballs kept breaking its slate ones.

More than £100,000 is expected to be spent on the tiles, to have a slate finish, at St Barnabas Primary School, Hart Street.

School leaders have previously tried deterrents including anti-climb devices, anti-climb paint, railings and CCTV cameras.

But it has now won Oxford City Council permission for steel tiles to prevent further damage to the school, run by the Diocese of Oxford.

Diocesan surveyor David Mason said: “The school buildings have suffered extensive damage over the years, particularly the roof coverings, which are mostly composite slate.

“The main cause of the damage is local youths who gain access to the roof in order to retrieve footballs which have been kicked over the top of buildings.”

These were from a neighbouring play area, he said.

He added: “The only real solution to this problem is to change the roof covering to a more durable product.”

Fellow Diocesan surveyor David Mitchell said: “You only have to look at it in Google maps to see that because of the years of repairs it now looks like patchwork.

“The school has had to replace hundreds of slate tiles.”

A Diocesan newsletter said it had got £133,000 for reroofing at St Barnabas but Mr Mitchell said he could not confirm the final cost until Wednesday.

Council spokesman Eva Oliver said: “We have decided to approve the application to reroof the existing school building.

“This follows careful consideration of the special circumstances of the site.

“We have been discussing the proposal with the applicants in detail and consider that the choice of material is justified and appropriate for the school buildings.”

Susanna Pressel, city councillor for Jericho and Osney, said she was delighted.

Ms Pressel added: “They had asked me to look into this so I’m really glad it has been resolved.

“It has been in the pipeline for a while so it is good to see it getting dealt with at last.”

Headteacher Fiona Hawkins was not available for comment as the Oxford Mail went to press.