Schools unaffected by safety investigation

Bishopbriggs Academy
Photo Emma Mitchell
Bishopbriggs Academy Photo Emma Mitchell

A BBC investigation last week revealed defects in dozens of school buildings covering 15 council areas.

Fears were raised after 17 schools in Edinburgh were shut following a wall collapse at Oxgangs Primary in the capital in January last year.

At least 72 more schools in Scotland were found to have similar defects to those judged to be unsafe, the BBC 
Panorama team discovered.

But an independent survey in April last year of six local secondary schools – built under the controversial public-private partnership (PPP) – found them to be structurally safe, according to East Dunbartonshire Council.

These are Kirkintilloch High School, St Ninian’s High, Bishopbriggs Academy, Turnbull High, Douglas Academy and Bearsden Academy.

Depute Chief Executive Thomas Glen said: “The outcome of this thorough process was that our PPP schools were found to be constructed to industry standards and were structurally safe and in good condition”.

The council’s Depute Chief Executive Thomas Glen added that no surveys have been carried out on the area’s new schools built under the design and build Primary School Improvement Programme (PSIP) as the council was satisfied with their condition.

These are Lairdsland Primary, Lenzie Meadow, Holy Trinity and Thomas Muir Primary.

Mr Glen said: “Following the events in Edinburgh last year, there was an intrusive survey of our six PPP secondary schools carried out by an independent consulting structural and civil engineering company in April 2016. The outcome of this thorough process was that our PPP schools were found to be constructed to industry standards and were structurally safe and in good condition.

“There was some minor cracking in some mortar joints, but these were not detrimental to the structural integrity of the building and were rectified during routine maintenance and repair tasks.

“Our Special Purpose Company (SPC) InspirED have responsibility for the buildings and their maintenance. It carries out technical health and safety checks at the school premises through a regular maintenance programme. Any issues identified are prioritised and dealt with as appropriate and this approach will continue.

“There have been no surveys carried out on our Primary School Improvement Programme (PSIP) design and build schools post-construction as the council is satisfied the schools have been constructed in-line with the structural engineers design and specification.”

Scotland’s Education Secretary John Swinney said last week that since the establishment of the Scottish Futures Trust in 2007, the construction methods used to build schools had changed and that no school built since then had suffered the defects associated with the previous system.

Problems first came to light when hundreds of bricks weighing a total of nine tonnes were blown from a wall at Oxgangs school in Edinburgh during Storm Gertrude.