Asbestos has forced Hill West Primary school in Four Oaks, Birmingham to close part of its building, with a bill of £1 million to remove the hazardous materials.
Asbestos was discovered in a facility for Key Stage Two classes at the Birmingham school with asbestos removal by specialists already underway.
Sally Taylor, interim CEO of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership, said: “The KS2 block is effectively being rebuilt, they have had to gut it. The asbestos has been ripped out and all the external work has now finished.
“It is now an empty shell, which is quite exciting as we get to design it from scratch and it will end up being a fantastic facility.
“The staff, parents and pupils alike have been brilliant and have adapted to the challenges they have faced.”
The shocking cost of removing the asbestos may come as a surprise, considering the urgency and alarm surrounding the discovery of highly dangerous asbestos on a school’s grounds, yet, sadly, it is something we have seen many times before. In 2015, asbestos was found in a school in Wales, with the unforeseen cost resulting in a delay to building plans and a risk of exposure to children playing on the affected grounds.
Earlier in 2015 the expenses of asbestos removal saw West Kidlington primary school in Oxfordshire unable to afford the costs of demolishing temporary classrooms.
A Freedom of Information report revealed that approximately 86 per cent of UK schools are contaminated with asbestos.
At a time when schools are being asked to step up and take more responsibility for ensuring that any asbestos within a school forms part of their asbestos register, it is good to see that both the school and the asbestos removal specialists identified the asbestos and ensured that this was communicated to parents and students.
If anyone believes they have been exposed to asbestos they should register this exposure as soon as possible.
Dominic Smith is national operations co-ordinator at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation about asbestos compensation claims and most claims are dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis. Call our specialist asbestos claims solicitors on freephone 0800 884 0275 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.