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Asbestos alert closes Belvedere Infant School until February

PUBLISHED: 12:35 24 November 2011

Pupils were evacuated from their primary school after deadly asbestos was found in dust there.

Children were removed from Belvedere Infant School, Mitchell Close, Belvedere, on Friday of last week and the school was closed after builders suspected dust contained the substance when they were carrying out work in the main hall a day earlier.

Tests confirmed it was asbestos and nothing was found in the air, but it was in materials in the roof space.

Headteacher Linda Mulley said: “This is an unexpected period of disruption for our children and I appreciate the patience that children, parents and carers have shown while we are putting final arrangements in place. I can assure parents and carers that while this is going on their children will continue to receive the same high level of education from their own teachers and teaching assistants.”

The mineral fibre, which is added to other materials to strengthen them, can cause scarring of the lungs and leads to pulmonary disease which can be disabling and is, ultimately, often fatal if inhaled or swallowed in large enough quantities.

The school for children aged four to six will be closed until February half-term while contractors remove the materials.

Lessons remain suspended until Thursday next week while Bexley Council and the school provide alternative arrangements.

A council spokesman said: “The borough has a comprehensive system in place for managing materials containing asbestos in all of its premises and it is through this system and the vigilance of the contractor that a potential hazard has been identified and prompt action taken. It is understandable that parents and staff may be concerned.”

Further details will be sent to parents and carers on Monday and updates posted at www.belvedereinfants.co.uk.

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