Groeslon school: Boycott by some pupils over conditions

Parents explain why they are unhappy with conditions at Groeslon primary school

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Some parents unhappy with conditions at a Gwynedd school have stopped their children going to lessons for the day.

Last week two classrooms were shut at Groeslon primary school, Caernarfon, after structural faults were found.

Parent Richard Birch said that on Tuesday - the school year's first day - some pupils went along in uniform, but did not enter the building.

Gwynedd council said Year 3, 4, 5 and 6 pupils would be taught in the school hall until temporary units were ready.

The council said it took the decision to bring in two portable units to serve as classrooms after independent structural engineers recommended that the school's 1960s-built classrooms be closed on safety grounds.

Start Quote

It's not ideal for the children to be learning in an environment like that”

End Quote Richard Birch Parent

Further detailed investigations are to be carried out, said the council.

However Mr Birch confirmed: "The plan... is that we are going to take the children to the school in uniform but not let them go in [on Tuesday]."

"Obviously on Wednesday they will have to go to school."

Mr Birch said there had been previous structural issues at the school, with the kitchen at one end of the school having been condemned three years ago.

"The classrooms at the other end were condemned last week," he added.

"In the middle are the halls and toilets but whenever it rains there are buckets in the hall to catch the rain water. How can you condemn the two ends but not the middle?"

'Funding'

Mr Birch said a new school for the area had been promised.

part of the school building Consultants found the condition of the classrooms had deteriorated

"This has been going on for three or four years," he said. "They say they have the funding for the school but as far as I'm aware they have not made a decision on the site for it.

"It's still a long way off. Something needs to be done in the meantime."

Alhough the council has now brought in two portable units, to be made ready a fortnight after the start of term, Mr Birch said they did not inspire confidence.

"They are propped up on breeze blocks," he said. "It's going to take time to get them up and running as classrooms.

"It's not ideal for the children to be learning in an environment like that."

Gwynedd council's education cabinet member, Sian Gwenllian, has said she sympathises with the children, parents and staff.

She confirmed Welsh government funding for a new school was in place, but would be released only once the council demonstrated how it intended to reorganise education.

Ms Gwenllian explained that a local review panel of local school governors and school staff would be held during the autumn to consider the school re-organisation options for the area.

This would then form the business plan to be submitted to the Welsh government, she said.

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