Dozens more schools across Scotland with structural faults

A collapsed wall at Oxgangs primary in Edinburgh in January 2016.
A collapsed wall at Oxgangs primary in Edinburgh in January 2016.
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At least 71 more schools in Scotland were found to have similar defects to Edinburgh schools judged to be unsafe.

Seventeen schools city-wide were shut temporarily last April after a wall at Oxgangs primary collapsed during a storm in January 2016, bringing down nine tonnes of masonry.

A safety inspection revealed issues with the school’s external wall construction from when the school was built about a decade ago.

An inquiry found it was only a “matter of timing and luck” no one had been killed or injured.”

Now it has emerged similar defects have been found at schools in 15 council areas.

Repairs were carried out on most buildings, but have still to be completed on six.

However 11 councils have not done intrusive surveys to uncover problems.

Liz Smith, MSP Scottish Conservatives education spokeswoman, said the situation would be of great concern to parents about to send their children back to school after the Easter break.

Local authorities were asked whether repair work involving wall ties or “significant structural issues” had been done at PPP schools, or others built under schemes such as non-profit distributing or “design and build”, in the past 18 months.

Moray Council said it is not one of the areas where defects were found.

Ms Smith said: “The fact that 11 local authorities have not undertaken the detailed building surveys which were recommended in the Edinburgh schools report is totally unacceptable.

“It is now imperative all local authorities carry out these checks immediately.”

John Swinney MSP, education minister, said: “It’s important to us local authorities fulfil their obligations within statute and that’s what we ask local authorities to do, it’s what we did last April when we first set out guidance through the Scottish Futures Trust to individual local authorities to ensure they took the steps to ensure that any issues that arose out of deficiencies in the construction process or in the certification process were taken into account and adequately addressed by individual local authorities where the responsibility lies to take forward.”

An EIS Scotland teaching union spokeswoman, said the findings were a “stark warning”: “The safety, health and wellbeing of pupils and staff must be the top priority in the design, construction and maintenance of schools. This is not an area where corners or costs should ever be cut.”