South East Wales

Cwmcarn High School reopening delayed after contractor death

Cwmcarn High School
Image caption The school was closed suddenly after a structural survey found asbestos

The reopening of a school forced to close because of asbestos has been delayed following the death of a contractor at the site.

Cwmcarn High School, in Caerphilly county, was due to reopen in September but the asbestos removal timescale was affected by James Paul's death.

Mr Paul, 26, from Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, was working in a suspended ceiling space on 19 July when he died.

Pupils are likely to start term in Ebbw Vale returning to Cwmcarn in October.

The school shut in October 2012 over fears its 900 pupils were at risk.

Since then, pupils have been taught 12 miles (19km) away at Coleg Gwent's Ebbw Vale campus, prompting parents' protests.

Caerphilly council is paying £1m to deal with the asbestos.

A spokesman for the council and the school said the delay in works meant children would now return to Cwmcarn following the October half term break.

"We have a duty to provide continuous education for pupils, and as such, cabinet will consider a recommendation for Cwmcarn High School pupils and staff to temporarily return to the Coleg Gwent Campus in Ebbw Vale while a programme of works continues at the school site," the spokesman said.

Image caption James Paul was due to marry fiancee Emily Rogers with whom he had a son, Kingsley

"We understand that pupils, parents and teaching staff alike will be disappointed by this update, however we would like to assure all concerned that works are progressing as swiftly as possible at the school and that our commitment to ensuring that Cwmcarn High School are able to return home remains steadfast."

He said the council and school were working closely with the contractors, Caswell Group.

Mr Paul, who had a son and was due to get married next year, may have been electrocuted.

In July Gwent Coroner David Bowen adjourned his investigation into Mr Paul's death until 3 October.

The hearing was told Mr Paul was found unresponsive after paramedics attended the school and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

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