Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Further Edinburgh schools closed over structure concerns

Oxgangs Primary School
Image caption Part of the wall at Oxgangs Primary was blown down during storms in January

A further three schools in Edinburgh are to be temporarily closed over structural concerns.

St Peter's RC Primary, Firrhill High and Braidburn Special Schools were built by the same contractor as Oxgangs Primary, which was closed on Wednesday.

A wall at Oxgangs collapsed during Storm Gertrude in January.

A safety inspection revealed there were issues with how the external wall was erected when the school was built 10 years ago.

The contractors were working under the Public Private Partnership 1 project.

St Peter's will be closed on Friday and will remain shut until the end of the Easter holidays. Edinburgh City Council said it was looking into alternative schooling arrangements for next week.

The school was closed following a detailed survey carried out by the Edinburgh Schools Partnership.

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

The survey focussed on the external walls of the school buildings which identified an issue with the width of the wall cavities and the wall ties.

Firrhill and Braidburn will be closed on Friday to allow "further detailed tests" to be carried out over the weekend.

Fencing will be put up around the affected area at Firrhill High with the school reopening on Monday.

The council said if Braidburn school could not reopen on Monday then alternative arrangements would be put in place.

Hundreds of bricks were blown from Oxgangs Primary school during the January storms. It is expected to reopen on 11 April.

'Rushed action'

Councillor Paul Godzik, education convener, said: "The health and safety of our pupils and staff is our top priority and therefore the council has decided to temporarily close these schools as a purely precautionary measure.

"Whilst the survey results have indicated that these schools could continue to operate in normal weather conditions until the necessary works are carried out we are unwilling to take any risk.

"We fully recognise the inconvenience caused by these closures and we would like to apologise to parents for this, however I am sure everyone will understand why we have taken these steps."

The council said it would update parents at Braidburn Special and St Peter's schools with more information as soon as possible.

Councillor Melanie Main, education spokeswoman for Edinburgh Greens, said safety must be a priority but questioned how parents could be expected to cope with the short notice.

She said: "On the face of it, it looks like something has gone badly wrong with the way these private school building contracts have been handled, both in building and in ongoing maintenance, that such rushed action has had to be taken.

"Once any emergency work is completed it is crucial that responsibility for these failings is established."

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