7:01am Thursday 22nd August 2013
Parents said they were disappointed that Cwmcarn High School would not open until November, but the bad news was tempered by the expectation of good GCSE results.
The results, confirmed today (Thurs), should be some positive news after months of sad headlines, with headmistress Jacqui Peplinski saying she was “delighted” with a big jump in students achieving five A*-C results.
Pupils will continue taking the bus to Ebbw Vale until half term, rather than starting the new term back in Cwmcarn on September 4 as originally planned, after the death of James Paul on site. Mr Paul was electrocuted during his work removing asbestos from the school.
Gary Thomas, Chair of the Governing Body, said: “We as governors are disappointed that the delay has happened but obviously under the tragic circumstances it has to be accepted.
“At the end of the day we are talking about 35 school days. Hopefully the parents will understand that and I’m sure they will.”
Kelly East, who led the campaign to reopen the school, said: “I can’t sympathise enough with the family of the young man who was tragically killed on site.
“Some parents have contacted me to find out why portacabins haven’t been used on site and unfortunately I can’t answer because I don’t know myself. The council haven’t actually been very explicit in explaining the reasons behind children going back to Ebbw Vale.”
William Graham, AM for South Wales East, said: “It’s disappointing, but safety must be paramount for all concerned. If it wasn’t for the determination of governors and staff and parents, it wouldn’t even be November.”
Leanne Gilbert, who has a son in Year 8, said: “I thought my son would be upset because of the disappointment but he wasn’t because of the situation. We know it’s going to open, it’s just a setback out of our control.”
Kathryn Jarrett, whose son Connor willl be going into year nine in September, said: “I suppose from the council’s point of view it just seems to be a fiasco from the start. It’s affected the children and the teachers. I’m just hoping that they will be going back to the school as soon as possible.”
Lindsay Whittle, AM for South Wales East, said: “I did ask what guarantee there was children would be back by September. Quite frankly, what I feared would happen has happened.”
“The children are being bussed a substantial distance. Some of these children are only 11. They are very tired by the time they get home.”
But he was not convinced portacabins and generators at Cwmcarn would be the way forward, adding: “Resources are short and there are other schools crying out for money.”
Despite the setback, pupils and staff can celebrate their exam success.
Jacqui Peplinski, headteacher, said: “I am absolutely delighted with the GCSE and A Level results. We have succeeded despite the challenging year as the children and teachers have worked together.”
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