Welcome to St Thomas Aquinas Primary School - West Belconnen
St Thomas Aquinas is a Catholic co-educational Parish School from P- 6 that is committed to the development of the individual child academically, socially and spiritually. Our school is your school and by joining us you become part of our 'Family'. If you wish to be part of our welcoming, supportive and active community please contact the school to arrange a meeting with the Principal.
Thursday 21 January
Thursday 21 January
I am writing to update you on the situation with the PFAS contamination of our school grounds. Most of you are aware by now that The Canberra Times published an article on the 3rd January 2021, questioning the current safety measures the school currently has in place to ensure the safety of staff, students and families on site. Following this article, Chief Health Officer of ACT Health has reviewed the evidence and is satisfied, that the measures the school has in place, are sufficient given the relatively low level of contamination on our site. I have included below a letter sent from Dr Kerryn Coleman, Chief Health Officer, ACT Heath, restating the relative risk of the contamination to people on site.
You may also be pleased to know that I met with Mr Paul Barnett of Paul Barnett Design Group, again over the break, and we are moving forward with plans to upgrade our outdoor spaces, including fully remediating the contaminated area on the school oval. Our plan is to create a facility which will withstand the pressure of over 300 children running around on it for 40 weeks of the year. I will provide an update with plans, and a likely timeline, early in the school year.
Thank you again for you support and I look forward to seeing you in a little over a week.
Monday 4 January
Monday 4 January
You may recall that I wrote to you on 21 July of last year regarding the ongoing investigation and testing for the presence of PFAS in the school grounds, particularly those areas adjoining the former fire station and a smaller area located closer to the school building. I have attached that letter here in case it is of interest.
The first priority of the school and of Catholic Education has and continues to be ensuring that any risk for students, staff and families from the presence of PFAS is managed according to the best available scientific and health advice.
A recent media report has quoted an academic who called for the closure of the school until the presence of PFAS is remediated. This opinion is not consistent with the detailed testing, investigation and advice provided by ACT authorities.
We have and continue to work closely with ACT Government authorities. This has included advice, and direction as appropriate, from Dr Kerryn Coleman, ACT Chief Health Officer; Narelle Sargent, Head of the Environment Protection Authority, and Geoffrey Rutledge, Deputy Director-General, Sustainability and the Built Environment at the ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate.
We will continue to take all measures required to ensure the safety of students, staff and families. The ACT Chief Health Officer has previously indicated she has fully supported our actions to manage the presence of PFAS from a health perspective.
The school and Catholic Education are working with the relevant ACT Government authorities to expedite appropriate remediation of the affected areas of the school. I am hopeful this will be resolved in the near future and I can then advise that full use of the school grounds will be restored for students with all risks remediated. I hope I can provide further information as the start of the school year approaches.
Please email me at Leah.Taylor@cg.catholic.edu.au if you have any questions at this time.
St Thomas Aquinas West Belconnen
02 6258 4077