CWMCARN ASBESTOS SCHOOL: Some pupils to return but hundreds more stay in limbo

South Wales Argus: INVESTIGATION: Some parts of Cwmcarn High School will reopen on Friday, but most of the school remains closed INVESTIGATION: Some parts of Cwmcarn High School will reopen on Friday, but most of the school remains closed

SOME pupils will return to Cwmcarn High School on Friday as they re-open part of the school following asbestos concerns.

But hundreds of other pupils remain in limbo while further investigation work is carried out.

Caerphilly council announced on Friday that the school would be shut until further notice after it received a structural report.

The council said yesterday that Years 12 and 13 should report to the school’s performing arts centre at 8.30am on Friday.

This is a stand-alone block which is the newest part of the school and separate from the other school buildings.

Year 11 pupils will also report to the performing arts centre on Monday at 8.30am.

A council statement said: “We are not prepared to fully re-open the site until further investigations have taken place to determine the extent of the problem and the work needed to address the situation.

A range of options is being investigated for the other age groups and further updates will be posted on the council and school websites.”

The Health and Safety Executive said it is making initial inquiries to find out if there is any basis for a full investigation at Cwmcarn High.

Teaching union NASUWT, which is the leading union at Cwmcarn, said it has written to the HSE asking it to look at the safety tests used at the school.

The union’s Wales organiser, Rex Phillips, said he would have made exactly the same decision having read the report but said it was a “very big decision” to close the school and now wants the HSE to look at the test used by the contractor.

He said: “It’s no doubt that there is a significant amount of building products used in the school which contain asbestos.

“I’m not going to minimise the dangers of exposure to asbestos because no one can say what the safe levels are.”

Mr Phillips said depending on howthe HSE now respond, he will be pressing for an assurance that this same test will be used at 30 other schools in the borough which he said have asbestos.

He said he understood asbestos is currently being removed from other schools in the authority but that these school buildings have not been closed.

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