North East Wales

Brymbo children kept home after school rat problem

A rat problem has led to a "significant number" of parents keeping their children away from a primary school.

A reception class and the nursery unit at St Mary's primary in Brymbo, Wrexham county, were closed after the infestation was found last month.

Rat catchers were sent in and the classrooms are now said to be clear, although a toilet block remains closed.

Wrexham council said parents had been assured that there was no health and safety risk.

The council said only the nursery pupils were asked to stay at home after rats were discovered in the building. Reception pupils were accommodated elsewhere on the site.

But although officials said the problem has been dealt with, a number of parents are still refusing to send their children to school following the half-term holiday.

Local councillor Paul Rogers, a school governor, said: "The issue has been resolved, but a large number of children are not attending.

"A significant number of parents are still feeling concerned and we're trying to reassure them."

Mr Rogers said the school, which is more than 100 years old, had experienced rat infestation several times before and he was liaising with council leaders about the problem.

"As a governor, I'm naturally concerned for children and staff."

He said the head teacher had sent letters to parents making them aware of the situation and an information leaflet had also been provided.

Toni Slater, Wrexham Council's public protection services manager, said: "Evidence of rats being present in two classrooms and toilet accommodation at the school were reported to public protection in May and officers visited the site immediately.

"The infestation was treated and subsequent visits to check on the situation have shown that the classroom areas are now clear of rats.

"The toilet area remains closed but is expected to re-open later in the week once officers have given it the all-clear.

"Disruption at the school was kept to a minimum and the reception pupils were accommodated elsewhere in the school. Only the nursery pupils were asked to remain at home until the problem was overcome.

'Top priority'

"I would like to take this opportunity to reassure parents whose children attend St Mary's that the classrooms have all been cleaned to a high standard and that there is no threat to public health."

John Davies, the council's chief learning and achievement officer, said: "The school has dealt with this issue professionally and appropriately in a timely fashion.

"The problem has been dealt with by professional agencies and is now resolved. The health and safety of children and staff has been the top priority throughout.

"The head teacher has written to all parents explaining the situation and informing them that all areas of the school are safe for children and staff to return to.

"I would like to reiterate the head teacher's comments and assure parents that at no point have children been put at risk.

"Parents should, as advised, contact the school if they continue to have concerns before they take the decision not to send their child or children to school."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites