A secondary school in Croydon which had its food hygiene rating lowered because of a 'rodent case' has said the downgrade is 'harsh'.

Coombe Wood School, on Melville Avenue, was inspected by the Food Standards Agency and the conclusion was that improvement was necessary after inspectors observed a rodent incident.

The school had its rating slashed from 5 - meaning very good - 2, meaning some improvement is necessary, after the inspection on December 20 last year.

The school said that if it hadn't been for the rodent activity, it would have kept its rating of 5.

A spokesperson for Coombe Wood School said: “We were only awarded the two-star rating based on a single case of recorded rodent activity.

“As far as the food service was concerned, we were advised that if it hadn't been for the activity, we would have been awarded a five-star rating.

“We felt at the time that this was a little harsh to be downgraded so badly.”

Improvement was deemed necessary under the cleanliness and condition of facilities and building section, which, according to the Food Hygiene Rating website, includes having appropriate layout, ventilation, hand washing facilities and pest control.

Coombe Wood School received a number of recommendations from an environmental health officer after it accepted the score.

In January, the environmental health officer revisited Coombe Wood School to see if it had adhered to the recommendations.

As of February 2024, the rating is still 2.

The spokesperson from Coombe Wood School added: “The revisit in January from the environmental health officer confirmed this and she wrote 'excellent' on the report.

“We have subsequently had a pest control visit with a recorded 'no activity' and have paid the £200 revisit with the local council, so we can achieve the five-star rating we justifiably deserve.

“The food service we provide at Coombe Wood School is of an extremely high standard and something we are incredibly proud of.”