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By Ian Mason

Classes wrapped up early for children at a Mortlake school after asbestos was uncovered – forcing its closure. Asbestos-containing material was discovered during maintenance work in the kitchen of St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Primary School on Thursday, December 4.

The Worple Street school was immediately closed that evening following an inspection of the site by Richmond Council’s health and safety officers and independent asbestos surveyors. A statement on the school’s website read: “We would like to take this opportunity to reassure parents that no children were present on site at the time and no access has been allowed since.”

A council spokesman added the contamination was contained to the kitchen and posed “no risk to the neighbouring community”.

At a public meeting on Tuesday parents were told by the governing body and a panel of council and Diocesan officers of contingency plans that would take effect from January 5. The council spokesman explained: “All pupils will be accommodated at four neighbouring schools to enable them to continue their education until a time at which their school can be safely reopened.”

Pupils will be spread among East Sheen Primary, Sheen Mount Primary, Barnes Primary and Holy Trinity C of E Primary. Headteacher, Helen Frostick said: “Our main priority remains the safety and welfare of our children and staff.

“On behalf of the governing body we would like to thank everyone for their understanding and co-operation through this challenging time for our school community.

“We are satisfied because of the swift action taken in response to the contamination no staff or pupils’s health has been put at risk.”


20 Dec 2008