Asbestos find closes school

By Roddy AshworthPUPILS were turned away from lessons at their secondary school after asbestos was found in some of the buildings.The substance - some types of which can cause fatal illnesses - was found last week at the 550-pupil Alderman Blaxill School in Colchester during a routine survey.

By Roddy Ashworth

PUPILS were turned away from lessons at their secondary school after asbestos was found in some of the buildings.

The substance - some types of which can cause fatal illnesses - was found last week at the 550-pupil Alderman Blaxill School in Colchester during a routine survey.

The survey was still being carried out yesterday, but a spokesman for Essex County Council said it was not thought the asbestos presented any health risk to children at the Paxman Avenue school.


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But in a letter to parents, headteacher Ian Poulter said the school would be closed to all pupils - apart from students sitting GCSE exams - until the full results of the survey were known.

“During the half-term holiday the school has been surveyed for the presence of asbestos in order to produce an asbestos report,” he wrote.

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“The survey - which has not yet finished - has identified the presence of asbestos in parts of the building.”

He added: “The school management team and governors will act in the interests of all students and staff once the results of the survey are known, but in the interim the school is closed.

“The school's gymnasium and associated toilet areas, as well as other individual rooms used presently for GCSE exams, have been cleared by surveyors for use by students and they should present themselves for examinations as per the examination timetable.”

Mr Poulter said yesterday the school would be closed until at least the end of the week.

“We have to manage the process properly. The school was built in the 1950s. We have to do a risk assessment,” he added.

“If there is rectification that needs to be put right, we will do it in a calm, well-structured and planned way.”

Mr Poulter said the school would still be open as a polling station for the Colchester Borough Council and European elections on Thursday.

A spokesman for Essex County Council said: “The school has had a survey which has found they have asbestos. It is still going on. At the moment there is nothing to indicate a health risk to children.”

roddy.ashworth@eadt.co.uk

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