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Education Swansea West Wales

Gower’s secondary school closes due to ground movement

A new two-storey extension including science labs and a drama studio at Bishopston Comprehensive School, Gower, pictured in 2021 (Pic: Swansea Council)

A BROKEN pipe appears to have been the cause of ground movement which led to the temporary closure of a secondary school in Gower.

Council chiefs in Swansea said progress was being made to resolve the problem but that it was still too soon to say when lessons at Bishopston Comprehensive School would restart on-site.

Pupils and parents were told last week that they’d wouldn’t be able to return to the school after half-term, resulting in a programme of “virtual” lessons this week.

The council said contractors would be at the school over the weekend of February 24 and 25 following a lot of work already in terms of ground investigations, reinstating utilities and any remedial work required.

The authority said that what appears to have happened was that a pipe below ground broke, which caused some ground movement right where utility supplies connected to the school. It added that surveys have shown there were no structural issues to any school building.

Alternate power supplies are being run to the school and this work is expected to be completed soon. They will then be tested to ensure pupils and staff can safely return. The council said when this happened it was likely that some areas of the school would be without gas heating and hot water for a short period. Alternate arrangements will be made, including the use of electric heaters.

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Cllr Robert Smith, cabinet member for education, said: “Unfortunately we cannot provide an exact date for when the school will reopen but work is taking place around the clock to ensure it will be in the near future.

I’d like to thank families for their patience and understanding and continued support of the school and its staff.

“This is a situation beyond our control but I can assure the community that our teams and contracts have been working all hours in some atrocious weather conditions to get the school back up and running.”

He added: “I’m also grateful to the school staff who are running a full programme of remote learning.” The council said virtual lesson attendance has been very high.

The school has around 1,100 pupils and has undergone a £13.8 million upgrade. The three-year project delivered a new teaching block – replacing demountables at the rear of the site – drama and art studios, new science classrooms and an upgraded hall and stage area, among other things. The refurbished school was officially reopened at a ceremonial event last July.