Primary told to pay joiner to hang pupils' artwork on walls

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A PRIMARY school has been told it has to pay for a professional joiner to hang children's artwork on the wall – because of health and safety fears.

Pirniehall Primary in Pilton has been landed with the 350 bill after parents were warned it was against the rules to put up the pictures themselves.

And because the school was built under a controversial public private partnership, maintenance firm Amey will even have to approve whoever is eventually hired to carry out the work.

It is understood the health and safety issue relates to the possibility of one of the pictures falling from the wall and injuring a child if they are not put up properly.

But as city council chiefs today defended the move, opposition politicians branded the situation "ludicrous". Green Party councillor Alison Johnstone insisted she would raise the controversy with the council as soon as possible.

She said: "Nobody wants to expose children to unnecessary risks but this is taking things too far. We simply cannot employ contractors to hang up pictures and we cannot afford to have such ludicrous policies."

The pictures at the centre of the row are photographs pupils took for an exhibition at Ocean Terminal and North Edinburgh Arts Centre earlier this year, depicting life at the school.

The prints, framed free of charge by Ikea, formed part of a project with a school in Burma, whereby pupils from both primaries were given disposable cameras to capture a day in their life. The result was a stark contrast between the two cultures, magnifying the deprivation among the Burmese children.

But when parents offered to hang the 30 pictures in the school for permanent display they were told professionals would have to be drafted in instead.

Brian Robertson, a member of the school's parent council,

said: "The children in Burma are really struggling – that 350 would go so much further there.

"I hung the pictures at the arts centre for the display there, all by myself and free of charge. They did not fall down and I'm not even a professional joiner."

A spokeswoman for the city council

said: "In line with good health and safety practices, the council uses professional tradesmen for work in school buildings in such instances.

"We are currently in discussions with the school over their request to hang the photographs."

Forth Conservative councillor Allan Jackson, whose ward includes Pirniehall, called for a "common sense" approach insisting that any health and safety fears could be quashed by supervising parents as they hang the pictures.

He said: "Surely that would cost a lot less than 350. There are always safety concerns, but this is just verging on ridiculous."

Should schools be allowed to hang their own framed art work?

Robert Fairbairn, 72, retired electrical design engineer, Clerwood Way: "This is surely health and safety gone crazy?"

Nazar Farid, 35, retailer, Cockburn Street: "The children should be supervised and allowed to hang these frames themselves – it's all part of learning."

Kathleen Green, 67, retired hospital worker, Suttieslea, Newtongrange: "I do not know how my generation survived without all these health and safety rules! The children should hang the pictures."