Cwmcarn pupils in limbo as asbestos school stays shut
9:44am Tuesday 16th October 2012 in News
CLOSED: Cwmcarn High School yesterday Fears for education as asbestos school pupils may have to move
● No end in sight to asbestos closure
● 900 pupils with nowhere to learn
● Parents want answers from council
● Cleaners claim they’ve been sacked
CWMCARN High School’s 937 pupils are set to be in limbo for at least a week as Caerphilly council tries to find them temporary accommodation while asbestos concerns are investigated.
Parents reacted with anger and confusion to the uncertainty yesterday, with one pupil saying “educations are at risk”.
Cleaning staff claimed they were also laid off yesterday, raising concerns that the building may be shut for an extended period.
Kevin Lloyd, a cleaner at the school, claimed: “We came in today and asked our manager what was going on and he tells us we are sacked.”
A spokesman for Caerphilly council said the cleaners are employed directly by the school, so it was not involved in the decision. No-one at the school was available to comment on that yesterday.
Cwmcarn High closed on Friday, with Caerphilly council saying it was to safeguard the “health and wellbeing” of pupils following a structural report.
It released a statement yesterday, saying it is working with the school’s senior leadership team and governors to explore alternative arrangements for pupils and staff.
The statement added: “This is unlikely to be resolved this week. Every effort is being made to accommodate pupils in Years 11, 12 and 13 as a priority.”
Year 13 pupil Nikki Smart told the Argus she found it “distressing” that pupils only found out about the closure on Friday evening’s news.
She claimed there has been a disregard for pupils, saying: “The asbestos has been a known problem since I can remember.”
Kayle Garkut has two children at the school, 15-year-old Darren, and Lauren, 12.
He said: “My main concern is my 15-year-old, who is studying for his GCSEs. Will they be able to use another school temporarily or will they re-open the more modern blocks for those at important stages?”
Heather Jeremiah moved to the area to get her children into the school, and said: “It’s a very unnerving time for them. They may have to move to another school.”
Liz Howell, who runs the local post office, said trade is down in local shops, as there are no children about.
Michael Gray, chairman of governors at Newbridge School, said its head teacher has been in touch with Caerphilly council and officials for the site are willing to help the situation in any way they can.
Parents' anger at closure
PARENTS have reacted with anger to the closure on our website: Darky69 said: “I am furious in the way that this matter has been dealt with, my daughter is currently in Year 13 and is about to resit A levels Which I paid £40 for on Thursday.”
Alexman1: “The school said they didn’t hear about the asbestos until Friday. My son has said they closed one of the departments for 2-3 weeks because of it (asbestos).”
JWG1967 claimed: “Anyone who lives in the area knows how much the local council dislike this school.
“Despite having good results it never gets any good publicity.
Does anyone really thinks it’s a coincidence that the head was called into a meeting quarter of an hour before the end of school on a Friday afternoon.
“Thus taking the control of the situation and preventing the school notifying parents itself.”