Birmingham & Black Country

Yardleys School remains closed after arson attack

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Media captionYardleys School, in Tyseley, was closed due to fears of asbestos contamination from a fire at neighbouring warehouses on 29 September

A head teacher has refused to reopen a school affected by a nearby arson attack more than two weeks ago.

Yardleys School, in Tyseley, was closed through fears of asbestos contamination from a fire at neighbouring warehouses on 29 September.

Rose Hughes said she was waiting for confirmation from Birmingham City Council the site was now safe.

But, the council said air tests and expert advice had confirmed it was safe for staff and pupils to return.

Ms Hughes said the academy had spent £65,000 providing alternative lessons for pupils while the work was being done.

Lost livelihoods

She said the decision to keep the school closed despite the council's assurances was partly due to the presence of clean-up crews who were still there earlier.

"As they're continuing to clear up today, I can see they clearly haven't finished the clean-up operation and so it can't be safe for my staff nor my students to enter the site," she said.

In a letter posted on the school's website, Ms Hughes told parents she was waiting for a safety certificate to ensure nearby sites had been cleared of asbestos.

Image copyright Eddie Halliday
Image caption Clean-up crews remained at the site on Wednesday

A city council spokeswoman said the school was given "certain assurances" it could reopen last Friday.

"Senior council officials also met the head teacher on Monday to help address outstanding concerns and enable the academy to re-open on Monday 20 October." she said.

It said it was working to "provide the reassurance necessary" for it to reopen next week.

"We must stress that the academy trust has been advised to reopen the school, and it has taken the decision not to do so, despite this advice," the council said in a statement.

The fire on 29 September was one of three arson attacks in a week on Reddings Lane, Tyseley.

CCTV images have been released of two men suspected of starting the fires.

Warehouses and office blocks were burnt down, with estimates that more than £100,000 of damage was caused, West Midlands Police said.

PC Tom Lyons called for anyone who recognised the suspects in the CCTV footage to contact police.

He said a number of tenants had lost their livelihoods.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption The men are suspected of starting three fires in Reddings Lane, Tyseley, at the end of September

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