Our school's got a huge mouse problem

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UNWELCOME visitors have moved in to the city's most decaying high school - mice.

&#149 Mice have been seen in the school's guidance staff offices

The rodents have been spotted by teachers and pupils at Portobello High School, adding to the long list of problems associated with the crumbling 1960s tower block.

School bosses have confirmed "evidence of mice" has been found in the school, but stress it is not a "major problem".

However, according to pupils who contacted the Evening News, there is a rodent "infestation" within the school.

The problem is said to be centred within the offices of the school's guidance staff - who have been heard by pupils complaining about the mice.

Pupils are concerned as the offices are located near the catering facilities where school meals are prepared.

One sixth year pupil said: "I was disgusted to hear that part of the building is suffering from an infestation of mice which are urinating and defecating all over the offices used by the support for pupils teachers.

"Even worse, the guidance offices are in the same two-floor building as the catering facilities where hot meals are prepared.

"It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if the mice have not already come from the kitchens, that is where they will all head - a real danger to food hygiene and a breach of health and safety legislation.

"I am sure this infestation is due to the poor and decrepit nature of the buildings: numerous holes in the walls, poor drainage and barely functioning doors."

The pupil added: "It is bad enough we as pupils suffer substandard buildings but to suffer risks to our health is just not right."

The Evening News revealed last week that a primary school in nearby Craigmillar has also been suffering from vermin problems.

Council bosses ordered the killing of hundreds of pigeons which have taken up residence in St Francis Primary School after their previous nesting spots were demolished.

One Portobello High parent and local resident said that there is a more widespread problem with vermin in Portobello at the moment, not just in the school.

He added: "I don't know if it's because there's too many empty sites in Portobello, or because of the weather, but I have heard from quite a few people who have had problems with mice recently. It's just a general problem in the area."

Portobello High is going to be rebuilt by 2013 after being rated the school in the worst condition in the Capital.

Parents and pupils had been campaigning for years for a new building.

It has suffered numerous problems related to the condition of the building over the years, including bacteria being discovered in the water supply, unsanitary toilets and broken boilers.

A city council spokesman played down the vermin issue.

He said: "There is no major problem at the school.

"Some evidence of mice was discovered in one of the outer office blocks and is being dealt with."

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