9:40am Monday 6th January 2014
By Emma Mackintosh
IT WILL be business as usual as Cwmcarn High School is due to re-open today following £1 million worth of work to remove asbestos.
The school shut in October 2012 over fears its pupils were at risk after asbestos was found.
Following the closure, pupils were moved from the premises to be taught at nearby Coleg Gwent’s Ebbw Vale campus.
Now, after being closed for more than a year, the school was due to re-open today.
In a statement post to the school’s website, Cwmcarn High School’s head teacher, Jacqui Peplinski, said: “It has been a very busy yet rewarding week as the school is starting to take shape again. Year 11 learners attended school for three days... it was lovely to observe the learners’ excitement as they walked around the school after 13 months and familiarised themselves with the environment.
“Year 7 learners visited the school on Thursday and they commented that it is cosy, homely and bright in Cwmcarn High School.”
There will be a whole-school assembly today, held to celebrate the pupils’ long-awaited return, and at 11am an official opening of the school will take place.
She added: “As we return to business as usual, we will observe the same systems and protocols that we adhered to before we left Cwmcarn High School.
“It is time to put the last 13 months behind us and to return to business as usual; we are back in our community and stronger than ever.”
School governors joined members of the school’s sixth form on December 16 to witness Caerphilly council’s cabinet member for education and lifelong learning, Cllr Rhianon Passmore, handing the keys to the building over to Ms Peplinski.
After the school’s closure Caerphilly council provided £1 million for works to remove the asbestos.
Parents and pupils held protests and ran a petition urging the authority and the Welsh Government to secure the school’s future. Contractors began working to remove the substance, with the school initially expected to re-open in September 2013.
But the asbestos removal work was 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 the asbestos removal.
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