Hundreds of pupils at Cwmcarn High School have held a demonstration this morning in an attempt to persuade the local council to re-open the school site. It closed following fears of asbestos contamination last October. Pupils and teachers have been having lessons at the former Coleg Gwent site in Ebbw Vale ever since.
But last week parents told ITV News that they believe Caerphilly County Borough Council is using the asbestos risk as an excuse to close the school for good. The allegations come after two reports, from the Health and Safety Executive and asbestos consultants Ensafe, said that Cwmcarn High was an "essentially uncontaminated school".
However, Caerphilly County Borough Council say they have concerns about the accuracy of the Ensafe report and add that the report done by the Health and Safety Executive only looked at the levels of airborne asbestos fibres after the school closed. They are now conducting a new survey, which will be completed in the next few weeks. Parents argue that this is unnecessary.
Caerphilly County Borough reportedly has a big surplus of secondary school places. The council will not confirm this. But pupils believe they wish to shut their school in order to reduce this deficit. They also say they have been finding the travelling to Ebbw Vale over the past five months very difficult, and want to go back to the building in Cwmcarn.
Meanwhile Caerphilly County Borough Council also says it has concerns about the general condition of the building, with a backlog of repair work and maintenance to be done there. But parents say they have local tradesmen happy to do renovation for free.
The council reiterate that their priority is the health and wellbeing of pupils and staff at the school.