Mid Wales

Flood-hit Welshpool school to fully reopen next week

Hundreds of pupils unable to attend a flood-damaged secondary school are expected to return by the middle of next week.

Water pipes, tanks and radiators burst in freezing conditions at Welshpool High School over Christmas.

The school was shut to 950 children on Wednesday as term began, with only A-level students allowed to return. Year 11 pupils are back on Friday.

Asbestos found in a kitchen ceiling will be removed this weekend.

GCSE year 11 pupils are being asked to bring a packed lunch to school until the kitchen is given the all clear.

Damage to the kitchen ceiling has led to concerns about brown asbestos, and an air test was carried out on Tuesday.

Head teacher Jim Toal said the flooding was discovered on New Year's Eve.

A theatre, two gymnasiums and a science lab had been affected, but the school kitchen was causing the biggest headache, he said.

Chair of governors Graham Lewis said the kitchen could provide a limited menu next week.

"The current situation at Welshpool High School is that we anticipate the asbestos removal will be carried out over the coming weekend and by next Monday we will be in a position to commence cleaning the canteen with a view to providing a limited lunchtime menu by the middle of next week," he said.

"In the meantime we will be requesting year 11 pupils to attend school from this coming Friday to join years 12 and 13 who started back this morning.

"These year groups are being asked to bring in a packed lunch until such time we are able to provide catering.

"The parents of the remaining pupils will then be contacted shortly and informed when their child should return to school, which is currently expected to be by the middle of next week at the latest.

"Throughout this period the school will be providing a midday meal to those pupils entitled to free school meals."

On Tuesday, Mr Toal said workers from Powys council and other contractors had been cleaning up for the last few days, and a specialist team would be hired to work with the asbestos.

The cost of the damage is not known, but it is thought to run into tens of thousands of pounds.

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