PARENTS of Thornwell School pupils have been informed pupils will break up earlier than planned so work can start on its rebuild.

Written by headteacher Linda Davies, the letter states the children’s final day will be on July 18 to prepare for building work to start four days later.

The letter was sent out before planning permission was granted last week.

Monmouthshire council said Thornwell school will be built to standards to match Castle Park and Dewstow schools. It will be funded by insurance and £1.5m from council coffers and not through the Welsh Government’s 21st century school s programme.

At the meeting, Chepstow councillor Armand Watts welcomed the decision to re-build that part of the school devastated by a fire more than two years ago, which destroyed the infant and nursery unit.

But he criticised the decision to not install new sprinklers in the existing building.

If it was funded under the 21st Century schools funding sprinklers would be fitted.

He said: “We are funding the school, not with 21st Century money but by selling off a piece of land. Frankly it is not good enough.”

“This will not be a 21st century school with sprinklers.“ Cllr Watts said the unanimous decision, made last week by Monmouthshire council’s planning committee, to build an extension to replace the infants building was ‘long-overdue’.

He said: “I do not believe it should take two years for this authority to put an application such as this before the committee. It beggars belief.”

Concerns were also raised about nearby residents whose properties are in close proximity to the site, the impact on the safe routes to school and also about the loss of part of the site, due to alterations to the school boundary.

A council spokesman said the new building will include a £112,000 sprinkler system and that would include the infrastructure required to install a sprinkler system in the older part of the school in the future.

He said: “But fire sprinkler systems are highly disruptive to fit to an existing building and would require pupils to vacate classrooms while the work takes place. So we will not add to the disruption that pupils are already facing by moving them from the existing building while many pupils are already in temporary classroom accommodation.”