Asbestos works delay Parkfield School's move to airport site

Parkfield school Image copyright Chris Downer
Image caption The free school is currently in an office block in Bournemouth

A school's move to a new site has been delayed for the second year running after work to remove asbestos proved more extensive than expected.

Parkfield School was due to move to the former air traffic control training centre (NATS) at Hurn next to Bournemouth Airport by September.

The Department for Education (DfE) said: "Additional technical problems were encountered that were unforeseen."

It said a phased completion was now expected between November and February.

A DfE spokesperson said the asbestos removal works had now been completed.

In a statement it said: "Nothing is more important than the health and safety of children and staff in our schools.

"We take asbestos in schools very seriously and comply with all good practice arrangements and will provide a fully safe environment for teaching and learning in the new facilities."

Image copyright Bournemouth Borough Council
Image caption The school was due to move to the former air traffic control training centre (NATS) at Hurn by September

The government's Education Funding Agency (EFA), which is responsible for sourcing a permanent site for the school and preparing it for use, said survey work had been carried out to establish the extent of asbestos in the buildings.

A spokesman said: "However, as with all surveys it is not always possible to identify all matters until construction works start."

The move was put off last year after bats were found in the buildings.

Free schools work outside local education authority control and receive money directly from the government.

The Department for Education has declined to reveal the cost of the further works at the eight-acre site.

A meeting between the school's governors, the Education Funding Agency and parents is due to take place later.

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