Ash cloud traps Brinsworth students in Ethiopia

A DOZEN Rotherham students are trapped in Africa after the volcanic ash cloud clogging the airways left them stranded in Ethiopia after a school trip.

Six teachers and 12 sixth form pupils from Brinsworth Comprehensive School remained stuck in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, as dust from the erupting Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull, continued to cause havoc with European air travel.

The school party should have returned from a teaching trip to Zanzibar last Friday but as yet they have no clue when they might be able to get home.

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As of Monday, 18 head teachers and 62 teachers from the 102 primary and special schools across the borough had been left stranded and were not available for work.  

No details were issued of the numbers of secondary school staff affected.

Some domestic flights were taking off in the UK today, after five days of cancelled flights because of the eruption, although there were fears of more disruption due to a new ash cloud.

The first planes from Edinburgh and Glasgow were among a few internal flights scheduled from Scotland.

Rawmarsh family trapped by ash cloud. Click here.

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The stranded Rotherham children and teachers are among an estimated 150,000 Britons who have been stuck overseas as a result of the flight restrictions.

The youngsters are relying on Internet access to talk to their family's back home in England.

James Brennan, of Rotherham, whose 16-year-old granddaughter Georgia Marshall is a pupil at Brinsworth Comprehensive, said: “They went on a teaching trip out to Zanzibar and should have been back home last week.

“I know her parents are certainly very concerned, as are probably everybody else's.

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“Clothing is also a problem and supplies must be running short.”

A spokeswoman for Rotherham Borough Council said that its 124 schools and units had responded "wonderfully well" to the current situation caused by the Icelandic volcano.

She added: "While it is disappointing that some of our students and school staff have been stranded overseas, our priority has been to ensure that every school has the necessary number of staff to provide a safe learning environment for those students who are present.

“This has been achieved so far with no school in the borough being forced to close because of a lack of staff.”