PUPILS and staff of Cwmcarn High School will return to their original site on Monday, January 6, after 13 months at its temporary base in Ebbw Vale.

Younger pupils will spend their last day at the site tomorrow before finishing for the Christmas break.

The Cwmcarn site closed in October 2012 after a council-commissioned survey by Santia asbestos management found staff and pupils could be at risk from airborne particles of amosite asbestos.

Hundreds of pupils and parents protested about the situation to councillors and made placards stating “Save Our School”.

After more than a year at the temporary building on Ebbw Vale’s former Coleg Gwent campus, work will commence tomorrow to transport all furniture, equipment and teaching resources back to the Cwmcarn site in time for the re-opening in 2014.

“Returning back to our community will be the most welcome Christmas gift for all of us here in Cwmcarn High School,” said headteacher Jaqui Peplinski.

“It is overwhelming to consider that the entire school population will return on January 6.”

The move back has been delayed a number of times in the past few months, including after the death of 26-year-old contractor, James Paul, who had been working to remove asbestos at the school.

An inquest opening heard that Mr Paul, from Abertillery, was electrocuted, with an investigation delaying asbestos-removal work.

Caerphilly council and the school leadership had then planned to re-open the school in early November, following the October half-term holiday, but it was delayed to allow essential electrical work to take place.

Parents, teachers and pupils were able to return to the site in October for the first time in over 12 months to attend a Year 6 opening evening but it has been confirmed that the school will finally reopen for good on January 6.

Cllr Rhianon Passmore, Caerphilly council cabinet member for education said: “It’s great that the countdown is now on for the school to re-open back in the community.

“It has been a difficult 12 months, but we must now look forward and start making preparations for the big move back home to Cwmcarn.”