Schools across Scotland to be inspected for defects

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Media captionPart of the wall at Oxgangs Primary was blown down during storms in January

Safety inspections will be carried out at schools across Scotland following the collapse of a wall at an Edinburgh primary, BBC Scotland has learned.

Four buildings had to be temporarily closed in the capital after defects were discovered in schools built by Miller Construction a decade ago.

The new surveys centre on schools built by the same company in Glasgow, Fife and Inverclyde.

The contractor said inspections were "a precautionary measure".

Hundreds of bricks were blown from the wall of Oxgangs primary school during Storm Gertrude in January.

A safety inspection revealed issues with how the external wall was erected when the school was built in 2005, as part of the Public Private Partnership 1 project.

Deemed unsafe

Oxgangs was part of a wider programme that saw 17 schools built or refurbished following a deal between the council and a private finance consortium.

When the wall collapsed, wider inspections revealed similar problems at three other schools in Edinburgh - St Peter's RC Primary, Firrhill High and Braidburn Special Schools.

All were built around the same time by Miller Construction - which was bought over by Galliford Try in 2014.

The four schools were deemed unsafe for pupils and temporarily closed.

They are due to reopen after the Easter holidays.

Image copyright Scott Arthur
Image caption Oxgangs Primary School in Edinburgh has been closed until 11 April

A spokesperson for Galliford Try said: "The four schools temporarily closed in Edinburgh comprised the second phase of the PPP1 programme, which was completed by Miller Construction in 2005.

"We have already started remedial work at Oxgangs Primary School and are assessing the requirement for work on the further three schools.

"Any remedial work required will be carried out as quickly as possible allowing the children to return to their studies with the minimum disruption.

"While we are not aware of any defects, as a precautionary measure, we have contacted the clients of the PPP school projects Miller Construction undertook in Glasgow, Fife and Inverclyde.

"Further investigations will be carried out as appropriate."

Deal worth £360m

Signed in 2001, Edinburgh's Public Private Partnership deal for schools was worth £360m.

In return for 30 years of fixed payments from the council, a private consortium designed, built and managed the schools.

Miller Construction was part of that consortium, and part of others building schools elsewhere in Scotland.

A PPP1 deal signed in Glasgow a year earlier was worth three times as much as Edinburgh's, and involved 29 secondaries and one primary school across the country.

Glasgow City Council said its PPP contract would now carry out surveys on the "handful" of schools built by Miller Construction.

Galliford Try said it had also contacted the clients of schools built by the company in Inverclyde, and inspections are also being carried out by the council in Fife.

Shelagh McLean, head of education and children's services (equity and system improvement), said: "Fife Council has contacted both of our PPP Contractors, who are monitoring the situation in Edinburgh.

"They will be carrying out inspections in Fife during the school Easter holidays.

"Both contractors also carry out annual inspections of the building fabric and free standing walls as part of their ongoing maintenance."

Oxgangs primary school and St Peter's are due to reopen on 11 April.

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