Wales

Asbestos: Cwmcarn school reopens at Ebbw Vale's Coleg Gwent

  • 5 November 2012
  • From the section Wales

Pupils at a high school where asbestos was discovered have begun classes at a new site 12 miles away.

The 900-pupil Cwmcarn High School shut last month after the potentially hazardous material was found there.

Students are being educated at Coleg Gwent's campus in Ebbw Vale for the rest of the school year.

Caerphilly Council said the £1.4m temporary move has been a "major logistical challenge", but it had tried to make it as smooth as possible.

Councillor Rhianon Passmore, the cabinet member for education, said: "It's great to see pupils and staff from Cwmcarn High School back in the classroom today.

Structural report

"Our main priority over the past few weeks has been to get the school community back together so that learners could re-commence their studies with minimum disruption."

Cwmcarn head teacher Jacqui Peplinski also said the relocation had been "quite a task".

The school was shut on Friday, 12 October after a structural report identified asbestos in the main block.

Year 10, 11, 12 and 13 pupils have since had lessons in the school's performing arts block.

Image caption Pupils arriving at their new school site in Ebbw Vale on Monday

In a letter to parents on Cwmcarn High School's website on Friday, head teacher Jacqui Peplinski said local authority officers had spent the week finalising the transport arrangements and it had been a mammoth task for them in seven days.

She said each pupil should have received individual instructions and a colour coded bus pass for the trip to Ebbw Vale.

"It is quite a task to organise the transportation of the entire school population and we expect some issues and teething problems," said Mrs Peplinski.

"It is quite an adventure to move an entire school in one week but it will not be complete without the learners and their happiness and wellbeing is of paramount importance to us.

Governing body

The council is looking at how it tackles the situation in the long term.

After a special meeting of Caerphilly councillors on 23 October, Ms Passmore said the authority had been working closely with the school and governing body to enable the pupils and staff to return to classes as quickly as possible.

"We have approved almost £1.5m in funding to support the move and this clearly demonstrates our commitment to resolve this issue and reduce the disruption to the school community," said Ms Passmore.

She said the move addresses the "short-term" needs of the school for the rest of the academic year.

"But we now need to look to the future and how we resolve the situation in the longer term," she added.

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