CWMCARN High School pupils could soon return home if councillors agree to fund more than £1 million worth of asbestos works - or alternatively they could be split up and sent to nearby schools.

These are the two options recommended for discussion at a meeting next Wednesday to decide the future of the school, which was closed last October after a survey found airborne asbestos. Students are currently being taught in Ebbw Vale.

A report to members gives five options, but recommends three be discounted because they are unsuitable.

They include doing nothing, returning pupils to Cwmcarn while work is carried out, and carrying out asbestos works plus a backlog of maintenance work totalling more than £3 million.

Instead councillors will look at two options. Option four is to remove asbestos and house pupils in temporary classrooms to the cost of £1.048 million, as advised by Ensafe Asbestos Consultants Ltd. This would make the buildings safe for ongoing maintenance and the buildings could be reoccupied by September. This is the preferred option of governors.

Option two suggest sending pupils in Years 7 to 9 to Risca Community Comprehensive, Years 10 and 11 to Pontllanfraith Comprehensive and sixth formers to Coleg Gwent while the council makes a decision on its 21st Century Schools rationalisation, which could see three schools closed to tackle surplus spaces. This is the cheapest option costing around £300,000.

But the report warns the council could face a legal challenge from governors in the form of a judicial review, if they chose option two.

It says this could discontinue its consultation on the schools reorganisation indefinitely, which could have "serious consequences" for the council.

The report concludes that taking into account the legal and financial issues, and the best interests of pupils, option four is the preferred option.

If agreed this would be funded from council reserves.

Head teacher, Jacqui Peplinski wrote on the school's website: "It feels very positive that we will have a clear way forward on 17th April."