Liberton High to reopen after wall collapse death

Liberton High School will reopen after the Easter break, it has been confirmed. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Liberton High School will reopen after the Easter break, it has been confirmed. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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A SCHOOL where a 12-year-old pupil was killed by a falling wall is due to reopen following structural checks.

Keane Wallis-Bennett died on 1 April when a free-standing modesty wall collapsed on her at Liberton High in Edinburgh, while she was changing for a PE class.

The city council said staff and pupils would return to the school on Tuesday after an ­internal inspection failed to identify any concerns.

The school’s gym will remain closed until the police have finished their investigations.

Council education director Gillian Tee has already indicated the school’s PE block may yet be demolished.

In a letter to parents at the school Ms Tee said an Easter ­revision programme scheduled for today had been cancelled to allow staff and students to ­attend the schoolgirl’s funeral.

She said: “An independent firm of consulting structural engineers has carried out an ­internal inspection of the school building.

“This did not identify any structural concerns.

“As a precaution, work has been carried out on two ceilings in the teaching block and this will be concluded before pupils return.

“A further pre-planned ­external survey will be completed later this week, as scheduled. The old gym will remain closed pending the conclusion of the police investigations.

“Our intention is to work with the school community and the parent council regarding the long-term plans for the gym.”

She added: “I would like to reassure you that I and my colleagues will be working closely with the headteacher and parent council to move forward following this tragic incident and that the safety of our pupils is our top priority.

“Finally, my thanks to all those who have continued to show such overwhelming support for Keane’s family, the ­pupils and staff during this ­difficult time.”

Psychologists are continuing to offer support to both teachers and students at the school.

Pupils are said to have warned teachers the modesty wall was “wobbly” the day before it ­collapsed.

Emergency checks were carried out in all Edinburgh’s schools following the tragedy, leading to the demolition of a similar free-standing wall at a primary school.

It is thought that almost 7,000 pupils in Edinburgh are being taught in schools that have or are close to showing major ­defects. Education leaders in the city have pledged to bring classrooms up to at least a “satisfactory” standard by 2019. However, critics have said this is not fast enough.

Earlier this week, Keane’s grandmother, Alison Wallis, criticised the amount of money spent on Edinburgh’s controversial tram project, saying her granddaughter could still be alive if more had been spent on education.