A Pembrokeshire secondary school which is contravening health and safety measures could finally be in line for a major overhaul.

Sections of Ysgol Bro Preseli in Crymych have been surrounded by scaffolding for the past five years to avoid the risk of masonry falling onto pupils, staff and visitors while sections of the school remain inaccessible to wheelchair users as well as people with other disabilities.

This week, following persistent calls for urgent work to be undertaken at the school, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Sustainable Communities for Learning Strategic Program Board were told by chairman Cllr Guy Woodham that the cost of a feasibility study will be submitted to the November cabinet meeting for approval.

“There’s still a long way to go, but at least we’re finally heading in the right direction,” commented chairman of Ysgol Bro Preseli’s board of governors, Carwyn James.

“This is the fifth year since scaffolding was first placed around the tower, and the school has now become a serious health and safety issue.

“We know that there are massive financial constraints across the county, but pupils are being adversely affected by the situation here at Ysgol Bro Preseli.”

Mr James went on to say that despite its ranking as the best state school in Wales which attracts over 900 students from all over Pembrokeshire and south Ceredigion, the school’s disrepair is leading to a decline in numbers.

“The concept of Cae’r Elen [the Welsh medium school in Haverfordwest] was to provide Welsh medium education for children up to Year 11, when they would move across to Ysgol Bro Preseli to sit their A levels.

“But because of the way in which the building has been allowed to deteriorate, it is now regarded as the poor relation, and pupils are choosing alternative schools.

“The school prides itself on its great academic achievement as well as its pastoral care of the students. But the building is currently contravening all of its disability rules. Students are required to have access to all subjects, however two of our core subjects are being taught in the tower which is unstable and inaccessible for people with disabilities. This is a massive failing.”

The feasibility study, which is expected to cost in the region of £100,000, will be discussed at next month’s cabinet meeting and, if given the go ahead will take place within the next three years. The cost of demolishing the existing tower will be in the region of £2m while the re-building work will be around £9m.

The news has been welcomed by the School and Learning Scrutiny Panel chairman, Cllr Huw Murphy, who visited Bro Preseli back in January to view its poor condition.

“I’m delighted to see cross-chamber consensus coming together to strive for the best outcomes for all children in Pembrokeshire, wherever they receive their education,” he said.

“However people need to understand that this is only the first step in a long journey, which will have many challenges ahead.

“Our hope now is that the current tower will be replaced in around four years and a new secondary school will follow in the next eight to nine years.”