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Probe into school asbestos

Last updated 12:16 08/05/2014
Jess Etheridge

DEMOLITION: Demolished buildings, reported to have asbestos, at Auckland's Bayfield School which has been closed.

Closed school
Jess Etheridge
CLOSED: Bayfield Primary was closed due to an asbestos scare.

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An investigation has been launched into how asbestos dust came to be found at a primary school in an upmarket Auckland suburb.

Herne Bay's Bayfield School was closed this morning for health and safety reasons after discovery of the dust.

The Ministry of Education's head of education infrastructure service, Kim Shannon, said the ministry fully supported the board of trustees' decision to temporarily close the school as a precautionary measure.

"The health and safety of children is our top priority," Shannon said. "Testing on the site has picked up some asbestos dust within the perimeter of the work site. 

"We have launched an investigation into how this has arisen, and Worksafe New Zealand is separately conducting further testing and investigation." 

Shannon said the school would not be reopened until the ministry was confident any contamination risk had been eliminated. 

"We are working with the school to make provision for the education of the children. 

"We anticipate the children will be able to return to the school early next week, once we are certain the site is safe." 

Bayfield is a decile 10 school with about 380 year 1 to year 6 students.

It is currently having 70 per cent of its buildings rebuilt after the premises were affected by weather-tightness issues.

Principal Sheryl Fletcher has previously told Fairfax Media Bayfield's 12-year-old buildings were leaky and cold with damp patches on the walls and ceilings on rainy days.

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