Urgent repairs needed at crisis-hit Edinburgh school

A council inspection of Oxgangs Primary School has revealed further repairs are needed. Picture: Stewart Atwood
A council inspection of Oxgangs Primary School has revealed further repairs are needed. Picture: Stewart Atwood
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A councillor is demanding urgent assurances over city schools after Edinburgh’s top official was forced to admit more problems at crisis-hit Oxgangs Primary School.

A raft of urgent repairs are needed after an independent inspection uncovered more safety flaws in the construction of the building.

Parents and local councillors, led by Gavin Corbett of the Greens, have insisted more should have been done to prevent the crisis that has engulfed the administration, forcing chief executive Andrew Kerr into an embarrassing press call yesterday where he shifted the blame onto contractors.

Mr Kerr admitted red tape stood in the way of terminating the existing contract with Edinburgh Schools Partnership (ESP), the body responsible for building and maintaining 17 schools in the city. Mr Corbett said: “All of these faults should and could have been picked up and acted on before the council had to send in its own inspectors. And if it has not happened at Oxgangs, how can we be confident that has happened in other schools?”

Parents slammed the council for giving insubstantial assurances over the safety of the school building from the time a wall collapsed two years ago until now, despite ongoing faults.

Oxgangs Parent Council chairman Richard Imlach said parents were angry, frustrated and concerned for the safety of their children.

He said: “We’ve had assurances on multiple occasions over the last two years that the building is safe to enter and use, but we have further reports which highlight significant defects, with news that further remedial works need to be undertaken.

“Parents really need an end to this for the sake of their children’s education and the safety of children and staff. We await the full condition report next week with bated breath.”

Mr Kerr placed the blame firmly with ESP, saying the council would have “preferred to trust” the consortium to have fulfilled their repair and maintenance obligations.

ESP confirmed issues with a ceiling tile collapse and loose roof flashing in February had been made safe, but the council inspection showed there were further repairs that had not been addressed.

A spokesperson for ESP said: “We are aware of the statement issued by the City of Edinburgh this morning and we are currently reviewing all issues regarding ongoing work at Oxgangs Primary School. We will be releasing more information once this review has been completed.”