Cwmcarn High School still closed after asbestos alert
Cwmcarn High School is still closed today after an asbestos scare.
The school was closed until further notice on the afternoon of Friday October 12 while investigations are carried out.
Headteacher Jacqui Peplinski has moved to reassure parents by insisting, via the school’s website, that the closure would be a temporary measure.
She wrote: “The school closure is a temporary situation and the matter will be resolved.
“The staff will meet on Monday morning in order to examine the situation and prioritise solutions for examination classes. The school will work closely with the Local Authority, during the course of the week, to discuss options.”
Caerphilly Observer reader Ann-marie Croker posted her frustrations on our website.
She said: “As a parent of two children at Cwmcarn High School, I am disgusted at the way this has been handled. A part of the school has been closed off for weeks because of dust in the area, and now in the most important time of Year 11 and pupils in sixth form, they now decide to close the school without any provisions for pupils.”
A spokesman for Caerphilly County Borough Council said on Friday: “Due to a structural report which has been received today, the Authority is taking immediate and decisive action to safeguard the health and wellbeing of pupils and staff at the school.
“As of today (Friday October 12) the school building will be closed for further detailed asbestos investigation. Although we appreciate that this action will cause concern and inconvenience to parents, I am sure you will appreciate that the safety of pupils and staff at the school is of paramount importance. The school will be closed until further notice and we will communicate with you any further updates with regard to the investigation and the arrangements for the pupils.”
According to Cenric Clement-Evans, an asbestos expert and lawyer at Cardiff-based law firm NewLaw, three-quarters of schools in Wales may contain asbestos.
He said: “We believe that about 75% of Welsh Schools may contain asbestos. The problem is that whilst individual schools should have their own asbestos register, it is not clear how many schools are affected and the extent of the presence of asbestos. I believe we need a central register in Wales to assess precisely how widespread the risk is.
“Those working in or attending schools are at risk of developing the fatal cancer mesothelioma in the future if asbestos – which was widely used in school buildings especially but not exclusively in the 1960s – is inadvertently disturbed.
“Increasingly teachers, other school workers and even those exposed as school children are dying from mesothelioma.
“We need to assess the extent of the risk before we can begin to manage the asbestos. One thing is for certain; we need to manage the legacy of asbestos in Wales for the sake of our teachers and schoolchildren.”
Update at 11.40am
Caerphilly County Borough Council is working with the Public Health service to analyse the findings of a structural report received by the authority on Friday afternoon.
Public Health professionals will provide their views on the findings of the report within the next 24 hours.
The council is currently working with the school’s senior leadership team and governors to explore alternative arrangements for pupils and staff, but the council has admitted it is unlikely to be resolved this week. Every effort is being made to accommodate pupils in Years 11, 12 and 13 as a priority.