Kinmel Bay primary school closed after discovery of potentially dangerous concrete
A primary school in Kinmel Bay has been forced to close its doors following the discovery of a potentially dangerous type of concrete.
Ysgol Maes Owen has become the third school in North Wales to shut after reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) was found within the building.
RAAC is a lightweight form of concrete and was used in the construction of schools, colleges, and other buildings from the 1950s until the mid-1990s.
It has recently been assessed as posing a risk of collapse in buildings, with its presence confirmed within a range of public sector properties across the United Kingdom including schools and hospitals.
In a letter to parents sent out yesterday, Ysgol Maes Owen headteacher Catrin Foulkes said pupils would need to stay at home for at least the rest of the week while the building is examined further.
She said: “Whilst the risk at this point is very low, following Welsh Government advice, the local authority has taken the careful decision to close the school building for the rest of this week initially whilst further investigations are carried out.
“I must stress once more that this is a precautionary measure until the checks have been carried out in full.
“I would personally like to thank the local authority for moving so swiftly with this to ensure that our whole Ysgol Maes Owen school community are kept safe and fully informed at all times.
“We will continue to keep you informed as soon as we know more over the next few days. Apologies, of course, for any inconvenience caused.”
She added that pupils would be able to access online learning facilities while the schools is closed.
The school’s closure has attracted political comment after the Welsh Government recently hit out at the UK Government over the RAAC issue.
It came as Welsh ministers accused their Westminster counterparts of failing to provide new information on the risk posed by the concrete until the eve of the new school year.
Welsh Conservative MS Darren Millar, who represents Clwyd West, has now raised concerns that the presence of RAAC at Ysgol Maes Owen was not detected earlier.
He said: “I was extremely concerned to learn from the Education Minister that RAAC has been identified in a school in my constituency, I would have hoped to have been given a heads up about this by the local authority first.
“Parents will understandably be very concerned, and it is important that Conwy County Borough Council keep them updated.
“We need to get these pupils back into safe classrooms as quickly as possible with the least possible disruption to their learning.
“The Welsh Government and Conwy County Borough Council should have been on top of this and I find it alarming that they’ve only just identified the problem.”
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