Is 'cancer' school safe for kids?

SAFETY inspections are being carried out every two months at a school after building experts diagnosed its structure as suffering from 'concrete cancer'. North Somerset Council ordered the

SAFETY inspections are being carried out every two months at a school after building experts diagnosed its structure as suffering from 'concrete cancer'.North Somerset Council ordered the frequency of inspections to be stepped up after its surveyors became concerned about the state of a Weston junior school.They found steel bars inside the walls and supporting pillars at Bournville Junior School in Selworthy Road had rusted and expanded, causing the cracks in the concrete. Building inspections in schools are usually carried out annually but since the discovery about a year ago, experts have been visiting the site every two months to make sure the building remains safe.North Somerset Council says the 218-pupil junior school is safe and the extra inspections are to ensure the condition of the building is not deteriorating.A council spokesman said: "After the inspection about a year ago, there was some cause for concern."It was agreed to carry out extra inspections to ensure the continuing safety of the building and that there was no deterioration in its condition."The building is, and remains, safe but we will continue to monitor the situation closely."The council is planning to demolish the junior and neighbouring infant schools and replace them with one state-of-the-art academy. But its plans have had to be put on hold after a £6million bid to the Government to fund the ambitious project was rejected.The decision means almost 400 children aged four to 11 in the two schools will have to wait at least two more years for the new building, which will include community facilities.Education chiefs say they are determined the scheme will go ahead and have vowed to apply for further funds next year.The quest to build the new facility is now a top priority but council bosses say the current school buildings will be able to last until at least summer 2009. Plans are already in place to re-apply to the Department For Education and Skills (DfES). If the funding plea is turned down again, the council says it will fund the cost of the scheme itself in its 2007/8 capital programme.Education bosses say work on the urgent scheme would begin 'as soon as possible' after finding the cash.Ward councillors have given their full support to the bid with Cllr Bob Bateman saying the redevelopment 'cannot come soon enough'. Cllr Ian Parker added: "The new school would be an fantastic facility for the whole community.

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