Two Edinburgh schools are the latest to be impacted by discovery of 'weak' concrete

The schools are the latest to be impacted by reviews into the use of the potentially dangerous construction material

The discovery of a “weak” concrete material is causing disruption at two Edinburgh primary schools, The Scotsman can reveal.

Three classes have had to move at both Trinity Primary and Cramond Primary in the Scottish capital after engineers found reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

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The kitchen at Trinity Primary has also been shut, leaving pupils without hot meals since April.




It is understood that sections of the roof at both schools will now have to be replaced.

The two primaries are the latest to be hit by disruptions amid reviews into the use of RAAC by local authorities across the country.

The Scotsman revealed last week that Preston Lodge High School in East Lothian is drawing up contingency plans over fears it will have to keep part of its buildings closed for several months after “faults” were found in the RAAC used to build the school.

The Prestonpans secondary closed more than 20 rooms while engineers carried out inspections.

The Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh is also closed to performances following the discovery of RAAC.

At Cramond, it is understood that two P1 classes and one P2 class have been relocated within the school.

Meanwhile, three P6 classes at Trinity Primary have had to move to neighbouring Trinity Academy.

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Ross Sanderson, a parent of a pupil at Trinity, said the closure of the school’s kitchen was particularly frustrating because it had been shut for several months during refurbishment last year.

"It's been really disruptive and frustrating, particularly after last year's kitchen closure and the impact of Covid before that,” he said.

Mr Sanderson said that the school had done “everything they can”, but added: “It's the lack of urgency, contingency planning and communication from the council that I think parents are annoyed about.”

The UK Government has called for checks to be carried out into the use of RAAC in schools, warning it is “much weaker” than traditional concrete, raising the "risk" of sudden or gradual structural failure.

Councillor Joan Griffiths, education, children and families convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Since the beginning of the year we’ve been carrying out ongoing and detailed assessment of our property estate looking to identify any buildings that may contain reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).

"Following an initial review RAAC was identified in several roof areas at two primary schools at Trinity and Cramond.

“The safety of all our young people and staff in our schools is paramount and the measures we have taken reinforce this position.

"As soon as these were confirmed two months ago we immediately put in place alternative learning and teaching arrangements at these schools for the small number of classes affected.

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"These have worked really well and been positively received.

“I want to praise all the parents and staff at the schools for their support over the past few months and the various council teams who worked tirelessly to support the schools.

"Everyone has done an amazing job keeping the disruption to a minimum and we’ll keep parents updated as investigation works progress.”

It is understood the council is trying to find a solution to the lack of hot meals at Trinity, with packed lunches being provided at the moment.

RAAC was used in the construction of schools, colleges and other buildings from the 1950s until the mid-1990s.

The panels were generally precast offsite and used for flat and pitched roofs, eaves, floors and walls within building construction.

The material has low compressive strength, being around 10-20 per cent of traditional concrete, and is also "very porous and highly permeable".

Scottish Conservative education spokesman Stephen Kerr said: “The concrete material found at Trinity Primary and Cramond Primary is very concerning, coming hot on the heels of similar RAAC slabs discovered in other schools across Scotland.

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“It raises serious questions about the safety of our schools under the SNP, and parents will naturally be worried.

"The education secretary Jenny Gilruth must reassure families and teachers that these primaries and other schools impacted will have the RAAC concrete removed and replaced immediately."

A Scottish Government spokesman said health and safety legislation is not devolved, with the Health & Safety Executive acting as the UK-wide regulator.

In West Lothian, RAAC was found in the extension at Balbardie Primary School in Bathgate, as well as in the nursery area of Windyknowe Primary in Bathgate, and a small section of the first floor. Repair work at both schools is due to start next week.

Other West Lothian schools affected are Riverside Primary and Knightsridge Primary in Livingston, and St. Kentigern’s Academy in Blackburn.

Work is also required at Lanthorn Community Centre, Whitburn Community Centre, and Fauldhouse Partnership Centre, with Stoneyburn Community Centre being monitored.

In Highland, RAAC has been found in Charleston Academy in Inverness, and Nairn Academy, with the schools subject to regular and ongoing inspection engineers, who have “not identified any areas that are at potential risk of collapse”.

One unnamed school in Argyll and Bute “has an area of RAAC”, with “temporary propping” installed ahead of further investigative surveys over the summer holidays.

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Ongoing reviews have found RAAC in one school and one community centre in North Lanarkshire, and work will be carried out at one school in Perth and Kinross in the summer.

Local authorities said no RAAC had been found at schools in Glasgow City, Fife, South Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire, West Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde and the Western Isles.

North Ayrshire said studies were ongoing but no RAAC had been identified yet, while Clackmannanshire Council was awaiting a report from specialist consultants.

Dundee City Council said it had “no concern about any of its properties at this time”.



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