How safe are our school buildings?
- 1 April 2014
- From the section Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland
The tragedy at Liberton is a unique and exceptional incident. Both the Health and Safety Executive and the Procurator Fiscal will be investigating precisely what happened here.
Inevitably one question that's bound to be asked concerns repairs and maintenance and just who knew what about any concerns over this wall.
In general, councils decide how much to spend on school repairs and maintenance.
In Edinburgh a report went before councillors last year on the state of schools: 12 schools were said to be in a poor condition and none were classed as being in the very worst condition.
Liberton though was not in either of these categories. It was deemed to be in a satisfactory condition and the recommendations of the council report included external improvements and rewiring.
There was no suggestion whatsoever of any danger to students or staff.
A recent report by educational inspectors made no reference to the condition of the school building, something which they might have done if this was a concern.
Across Scotland 18% of schools across Scotland were deemed to be in a poor or bad condition in 2012-13.
Government statistics indicated the proportion of pupils in schools classed as being in good or satisfactory condition has increased from 61% in 2007 to 84% in April 2013.
Edinburgh's school estate was in a better than average condition.
Some may wonder if pressure on council budgets across Scotland means some repair work is not being done - or if stop-gap repairs are being made where more substantial work is needed.
Edinburgh Council recently approved £30m of work to improve schools, including work at Liberton - though inevitably they had to prioritise. More work needing done was identified.
Their biggest priority was health and safety - and making sure buildings were wind and watertight.
The government points out 400 schools across Scotland have been rebuilt or substantially refurbished since 2007 and more new schools are being built.