Bayfield School in Herne Bay. Photo NZ Herald
An Auckland primary school has been shut down by its
board of trustees due to an asbestos risk.
The decision to close Bayfield School in Herne Bay was made
last night to mitigate the risk of asbestos dust from a
nearby building site where demolition and asbestos removal
work was being carried out.
The decision was made by its board of trustees following
meetings with the school's principal Sheryl Fletcher, the
Ministry of Education, project contractors and Work Safe NZ -
the organisation responsible for health and safety on the
In a statement, school representatives said in those
meetings, the board sought assurance from the project team
that health and safety issues associated with the agreed
project plan for the removal of asbestos were being
adequately dealt with.
The ministry was the contract counterparty on the work and
the board's role was that of an observer, the statement said.
"To date we have been satisfied with the process being
applied but during the course of today we have become
increasingly concerned with the position.
"This concern has been borne out by a number of tests carried
out that indicated the possibility that asbestos dust exists
outside the fenced area of works."
Testing by Work Safe NZ last night confirmed asbestos within
the fenced area, however further testing was needed to
confirm that the area outside the fences was asbestos-free.
That testing is due to be carried out today, and while it may
ultimately show that the site was safe, board representatives
stated they were not satisfied with the school remaining open
until that could be proven.
It was likely the school would be closed until Monday at the
earliest, school representatives said.
A meeting with parents to discuss the issue was being
planned. Board members were due to meet with ministry
representatives this morning to obtain health and safety
information that could be circulated to parents.
Bayfield School is a decile 10 school with around 380 Year 1
to Year 6 students.
- Brendan Manning of APNZ