Page last updated at 03:23 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 04:23 UK

Bristol school closed as teachers stranded by ash cloud

Joanne Wallace
Joanne Wallace used a webcam to conduct an assembly from Sydney

A Bristol school was closed on Monday because some teachers were stranded abroad by flight restrictions.

The air traffic control service, Nats, has extended its ban on flights until at least 0900 BST on Tuesday because of a new Icelandic ash cloud.

Hanham Abbots Junior School, in South Gloucestershire, said eight members of staff were stranded.

And a Bedminster teacher who is stuck in Australia used a webcam to lead a school assembly online.

Hanham Abbots is expected to reopen on Tuesday when five teachers return.

Acting deputy head teacher Tracey Serle said the five members of staff had gone to Lithuania for an organised event and had been due back in the UK on Friday.

'Learning opportunity'

"As a result they've been making their way across country for the last few days, and our head teacher drove across on the ferry yesterday to collect them and brought them back this morning," Ms Searle said.

She added that three teachers would not be able to make it home in time for Tuesday, but cover would be arranged for their classes.

Joanne Wallace, a Year 5 teacher at Parson Street Primary School, used a live webcam to talk pupils through her experience of being stranded in Sydney.

Head teacher Mark Lacey said the school had been "quick to make this into an opportunity to enhance learning about life in other countries".

He said another teacher was returning from Egypt by bus.

Fifteen members of staff from Bristol Metropolitan Academy, in Fishponds, are also stranded abroad.

Marlwood School, in Alveston, was closed to Year 7 pupils on Monday.

School trips

A statement on the school's website said a fifth of its teachers and a number of support staff had been unable to return to the UK for the start of term.

A number of school trips abroad have also failed to return home.

A group of pupils from Kingswood School are stuck in Iceland, 12 pupils from Redland Green School are waiting to come home from Kathmandu, and pupils from Royal High School, in Bath, are stranded in Barbados.

Passengers due to fly from Bristol Airport are advised to contact their airline for the latest information before they set off.

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