Urgent safety review after Edinburgh school’s ceiling collapses

Oxgangs Primary School has previously been in the news when an outdoor wall facade gave way, Picture: Ian Georgeson
Oxgangs Primary School has previously been in the news when an outdoor wall facade gave way, Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A MAJOR safety review has been ordered at all 17 PFI-built city primary schools after a roof tile collapsed at scandal-hit Oxgangs Primary where an outdoor wall facade previously gave way.

The investigation will start immediately to check the condition of all roof tiles and hangers after a pupil, who was attending a privately run after school club in Oxgangs Primary, was struck by the falling indoor tile. A parent of an Oxgangs pupil told the Evening News that children were covered in falling debris after more tiles came tumbling down as they ran out of the school.

The lightweight tile, approx 2ft square, fell from a suspended ceiling in a “general purpose” room.

And a statement issued to parents by headteacher Liz Walshe stated: “As the children and staff were preparing to leave the room a small number of similar ceiling tiles and part of the frame of the suspended ceiling fell.

“We take the health and safety of our pupils and staff extremely seriously and immediate action has been taken to identify what happened.

“Officers from the council and our PPP provider have identified that some of the hangers that suspend the ceiling were missing and this fault has now been rectified. Checks have shown no other hangers are missing in the room and it is safe to use.

“As a precaution, all ceilings in the school are being checked and if any hangers are found to be missing they will be installed immediately.”

A council spokesman confirmed checks would be carried out on all PFI-built schools in the Capital.

Chair of Oxgangs Parent Council Richard Imlach said: “The Parent Council are rightly concerned about the latest incident and are keen to seek answers from CEC on the particular details of what the cause of yesterday’s issues were, and what steps and actions will be put in place to reassure parents that the school is 100 per cent safe.

“Given the previous issue with the wall collapse, there will be concern from parents again relating to the general construction standards of the school building.

“This is an issue that the Parent Council will follow up on behalf of the parents through both the school and CEC.”

Oxgangs Cllr Jason Rust added: “Parents are naturally extremely concerned about the situation and I am pressing to get an urgent understanding of the scale of the problem. Communication with parents is absolutely vital given the recent history of the school and we need answers.”

Safety fears first surfaced after a wall collapsed at the school in January 2016. City bosses shut 17 schools for safety checks and set aside £500,000 to inspect other buildings. Those affected were all built or refurbished following a £360m private finance deal – dubbed “PPP1” – in 2002. The fiasco prompted council property chief Peter Watton to admit the authority had “got it wrong” to a Holyrood committee.

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk