A CAERPHILLY family are still looking for answers and an apology – as they approach the 10-year anniversary of their son’s death.

Glyn Summers from Hengoed was 17 when he died after falling from a fifth-floor balcony while on a trip to Barcelona, Spain, with his engineering course at Ystrad Mynach College in October 2011. He had been out with friends to a bar on the first night of the trip – after receiving permission from the college lecturer on the trip.

Almost ten years on, and his family are still waiting to see the internal investigation report from the college – which merged with Coleg Morgannwg to create Coleg y Cymoedd two years after the incident.

The college, however, argues legal restrictions prevent it from giving the family unlimited access to the report.

Glyn’s brother Sion said he and his parents have been left frustrated and accused the college of covering the incident up.

Mr Summers said: “My parents have been trying to get access to this report for almost ten years. The college conducted an internal investigation after admitting in a letter to my parents that one of the tutors on the trip gave permission for my brother, who was 17 at the time, and some of his friends to go to an over-21 bar on the first night they were there.

“The group went to the bar and my brother’s friends took him back to the hotel and he was a bit worse for wear and wasn’t feeling well.

“He went out onto the balcony – we think to be unwell – and fell over the balcony. He tried to pull himself back up but fell and a week later he died in hospital.”

The legal age for purchasing and drinking in Spain is 18.

The family say the lead teacher advised Glyn’s private insurance company that he jumped from the hotel balcony, however the police report states that the tutors were nowhere near the scene at the time.

“My parents flew out there and while they were supposed to be by my brother’s side, they were having to battle the insurance company because they were facing these medical bills and the company wouldn’t pay out.

“My parents were told by the company that the tutor had called them and said that he had jumped – and they don’t pay out on self-inflicted injuries. They even sent my parents the report confirming this and a recording of the call.

“How can someone who was not there say that he jumped? This was contradicted by the police report, which we had translated from Spanish a year after. It had eye-witnesses state that he fell and was clinging on to try and save himself.”

Mr Summers said that since the investigation began, his parents have not seen the report – with the college saying that they cannot share it for ‘confidentiality reasons’.

“How can they hide behind that? My parents have a right to know what the outcome of the investigation is. So far, all my parents have been given is the chance to spend an hour in the college’s solicitors’ office reading the report.

“But one hour to read and digest the report into their son’s death? They refused that because that is not acceptable.”

“Nothing is going to bring Glyn back, unfortunately he is gone. But as a family, we deserve to know what the report said, and we deserve an apology for the wrongdoings by the college.”


Karen Phillips, principal of Coleg y Cymoedd said: “The death of Glyn Summers, during an overseas trip in 2011 organised by the former College Ystrad Mynach, was a tragic accident that was deeply distressing for family and friends as well as staff and fellow students who continue to feel his loss.

“Coleg y Cymoedd assumed responsibility for the College Ystrad Mynach in 2013, following the merger of that college with the former Coleg Morgannwg.

“The safety and wellbeing of the students in our care is, and always will be, the over-riding priority for Coleg y Cymoedd. Our safeguarding policies, procedures and practices are constantly monitored to ensure the safety of all staff and students participating in College trips and other activities.

“Since assuming responsibility for the former College Ystrad Mynach, we have sought to co-operate as fully as possible with Glyn’s parents, Welsh Government, and others during these difficult times. As the successor college we have responsibility for keeping documents related to the former College Ystrad Mynach. While legal constraints prevent us offering unrestricted access to the documents in this case, we have endeavoured to do as much as we are permitted to give Glyn’s parents the information which they have requested. We have taken a similar approach in liaising with Welsh Government.

“Although the College Ystrad Mynach no longer exists as an individual entity, and those charged with its leadership are not employed by Coleg y Cymoedd, as the successor college our thoughts and sympathies continue to be with Glyn’s family and loved ones.”

Mr Summers has also got a petition for the Welsh Government to conduct an independent investigation into his brother’s death and has called for more to be done to regulate further education trips.

“If my brother was with a school on the trip, the local authority would have stepped in sooner to do an investigation, but with further education colleges it doesn’t work that way.

“We’re calling for the Welsh Government to launch an independent investigation into my brother’s death and to tighten the rules of what is allowed when college students are taken on trips.

“I’m a teacher myself and I would never dream of giving permission for a student to drink alcohol, especially if underage.

“Nothing can bring Glyn back but for me, I can’t rest knowing that this could happen to someone else and I want to stop that.”

The Summers family want legislation created to help families to not have to fight public services to release information relating to fatal incidents and also where professional misconduct has occurred and that there are appropriate processes in place for emergencies and safety of students.

On the petition, the family said: “Losing Glyn has been devastating to his family. This has been compounded by watching the same educational body refuse to take accountability for their actions and to learn the lessons needed to ensure no fatalities like this happen again.”

The petition for the Welsh Government can be found here https://petitions.senedd.wales/petitions/244682