8:30am Friday 11th October 2013
A VALLEYS school closed over asbestos last year is not likely to fully open until 2014.
Cwmcarn High School says that the near completion of asbestos removal and remediation work at the school has allowed essential electrical work to take place.
But a joint statement from headteacher Jacqui Peplinski and Caerphilly council’s acting deputy chief executive Sandra Aspinall said that this will cause a further delay.
Some year groups could be back at the school in early December, however.
According to the statement the asbestos work is nearing completion and has allowed for essential electrical works to proceed.
Caerphilly council and the school leadership had hoped to re-open Cwmcarn High School in early November, following the October half-term holiday, but “it is now clear that these additional works will cause a further delay to this timescale”.
“Following discussion between the council, the head teacher and chair of governors it has been agreed that the school will continue to operate at the Ebbw Vale site while the electrical works are completed at Cwmcarn,” the statement said.
“Depending on progress over the next few weeks, some year groups will hopefully be able to return to the school in early December, but it is anticipated that the school will be fully operational after Christmas.”
Ms Peplinski and Ms Aspinall said they “fully understand that this is disappointing news and many pupils, staff and parents will be frustrated by this further delay."
“I'm sure you can appreciate that the school must be made safe before it can re-open again,” they added.
Asbestos removing work was previously delayed following the death of 26-year-old contractor James Paul, who had been working on the site.
An inquest opening heard that Mr Paul, from Abertillery, was electrocuted, with an investigation delaying asbestos-removal work.
There were protests earlier this year urging Caerphilly council to re-open Cwmcarn High School, with pupils moved to a site in Ebbw Vale.
A march in February saw 700 angry parents and pupils bring traffic to a standstill in the village. The school was closed in October after a council-commissioned survey by Santia Asbestos Management found staff and pupils could be at risk from airborne particles of amosite asbestos.
The local authority set aside £1,048,000 for the asbestos-removal work in April but it is estimated this will cost £711,000, the Argus reported in August.
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