Cwmcarn High School reopens 14 months after asbestos found

The school was closed in October 2012 after a structural survey found asbestos

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A south Wales school which closed 14 months ago after asbestos was discovered has reopened.

Staff and pupils attended a celebratory assembly to mark their return to Cwmcarn High School in Caerphilly county.

They were due to return in September but the death of a contractor delayed the move.

The school has been working from a former college campus 12 miles (19km) away in Ebbw Vale since November 2012.

Teachers spent the weeks before Christmas preparing for the move back to Cwmcarn, before Caerphilly council handed the keys back to head teacher Jacqui Peplinski on 16 December.

An assembly to celebrate the move on Monday will be followed by an official reopening attended by senior council members.

Start Quote

We're back on the green, green grass of home”

End Quote Gary Thomas Chairman of governers
Work complete

Chair of governors Gary Thomas helped staff put the finishing touches to preparations at the school on Sunday.

Mr Thomas, who celebrates his birthday on the same day as the reopening, said it was the perfect gift.

"It's a wonderful birthday present for me, it's marvellous. Everyone is up for coming back home and we are all delighted," he said.

"We are open for business to start teaching our children again - we're back on the green, green grass of home."

Mr Thomas added that it had been a "difficult" 14 months for the pupils but they had been "outstanding".

But said despite the disruption of having to travel 12 miles to school, the pupils had coped well.

"They certainly haven't suffered as far as the academic achievements of the school are concerned. They've been better this year," he said.

The school was closed in October 2012 over concerns its 900 pupils could be at risk after asbestos was revealed in a structural report.

Parents and pupils protested against the closure and there were rows with Caerphilly council over what work needed to be carried out and how it would be paid for.

Contractors were eventually brought in to remove the asbestos in June.

In July, James Paul, 26, from Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, was working in a suspended ceiling space when he died.

It is thought he may have been electrocuted.

The Health and Safety Executive is investigating his death.

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