Godre’r Graig Primary School pupils have this week been settling in to new demountable classrooms in their own dedicated area at Cwmtawe Community School – just nine weeks after being evacuated due to a landslide risk.
At an emergency meeting in July, just before the school summer holidays, Neath Port Talbot councillors decided Godre’r Graig Primary School should be vacated immediately as geological experts Earth Science Partnership (ESP) discovered a landslide threat to the school’s playground from a quarry spoil tip above the school.
ESP said its further, detailed investigation work at the site would take many months so the Council initiated an action plan to relocate around 150 pupils and 15 staff as quickly as possible to a new home in Cwmtawe – ensuring they remained together as a school.
The Council scoured the country for contractors with the expertise and equipment available to put demountable classrooms in place quickly and safely and the authority soon secured the services of Scottish based Sibcas.
Sibcas staff worked 12 hour shifts to complete tasks such as fitting data cabling, installing electrical systems, finishing floors and carrying out carpentry work on the new classrooms as they were delivered.
At the same time, Neath based contractors Ian Davies carried out civil works to excavate service and drainage trenches and install new fencing. Western Power provided and switched on a new electricity supply at the site by August 23rd – just six weeks after the emergency school closure.
Removals firm Pickfords was also praised by Neath Port Talbot Council education officials who said the firm “went above and beyond on Friday and Saturday (Sept 6th and 7th) to get the furniture and equipment from the old to the new site - nothing was too much trouble for them”.
The first demountable arrived on site on August 16th, the second on Tuesday, August 20th, the third on Thursday, August 22nd and the fourth on Tuesday, August 27th .
Transport arrangements for Godre’r Graig Primary School pupils, including its nursery pupils, were put in place and the new routes and timetables plus pick-up points provided to parents in letters from the Council.
School meals are now being provided for pupils via the Cwmtawe Community School’s catering facilities.
The school’s Head Teacher and pupils are delighted with their new facilities.
Godre’r Graig Primary School Head Teacher Penny Argyle said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the buildings and facilities available to us for this academic year. The children have settled incredibly well into our temporary site and it’s a pleasure to see their happy faces in school.
“I’d like to thank Neath Port Talbot Council, Mr Lee Hitchings and staff at Cwmtawe Secondary School and all of the Godre’rgraig Primary School community for their hard work and support over the Summer and start of this term. Godre’rgraig Primary is looking forward to another successful year!”
Councillor Peter Rees, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture said: “I want to thank all the Council staff and our contractors for moving the Godre’r Graig pupils together with their teachers to a new site within a matter of weeks. That took a considerable amount of hard work and great organisational skill.”
Council Leader, Councillor Rob Jones added: “I want to remind people we fully understand the enormity of temporarily closing these premises but I also want to make it clear the school remains open in its new location and that the safety of our pupils and staff has always been, and will remain, our priority.
“Because of this swift move the pupils can now continue their education with the same classmates and staff while ESP – which discovered this risk as it widened its investigations into historic landslide issues in Pantteg – fully investigates its initial findings of a landslide risk to Godre’r Graig Primary School.”
A programme has been put in place to maintain and to make safe Godre’r Graig Primary School while ESP’s investigations go on nearby and the community living around the school is asked to be “the eyes and ears” of the Council by reporting anything regarded as suspicious concerning the school site.
If there are any questions or issues from parents or others affected by the new arrangements they should contact the Council’s dedicated e-mail address for Godre’r Graig Primary School issues: firstname.lastname@example.org.