Council gives update on school closures

Broomhouse mural Market Street Fruit and Veg Shop

The Chief Executive of the City of Edinburgh Council and senior education officials have met with directors of the Edinburgh School Partnership (ESP) yesterday afternoon (Sunday 10 April) to receive an update on the programme of detailed structural surveys which is underway on the PPP1 schools.

More detailed structural surveys, arranged by ESP, continued over the weekend and will carry on over the course of the next week, with updated information being confirmed as early as possible in respect of each school.

As a result of the surveys on Friday last week (April 8) the Howdenhall Secure Unit stayed operational as only the gym area that was identified as needing remedial work.

The surveys are now focussing on secondary schools as a priority, with S4, S5 and S6 pupils preparing for exams in the coming weeks. The affected secondary schools are Gracemount, Craigmount, Firrhill, Drummond and Royal High.

It is hoped a clear picture on the secondary schools, including alternative arrangements if required, will be available by Tuesday.

The Council’s Chief Executive has been in regular contact with the Scottish Government, which has offered support with providing additional structural engineers to complete the work, as well as general support with contingency arrangements.

The Council is working to ensure that pupils from Oxgangs Primary, St Peter’s Primary and Braidburn Schools can continue to use alternative contingency arrangements that were put in place prior to the Easter break. Prior arrangements included local schools, including WHEC and Clovenstone, taking in pupils from Oxgangs primary. It is anticipated that this will take place from Tuesday (April 12) subject to the necessary transport arrangements being put in place. The Council will update parents of these schools, directly on Monday.

Alternative arrangements for other schools are being actively looked into and the Council will update parents via the Council website (www.edinburgh.gov.uk/schoolclosures)  and via the Council Twitter @Edinburgh_CC on a daily basis.

The Council has received several offers of support from other partner organisations across the city, including Edinburgh University, offering support to put contingency arrangements in place.

Chief Executive Andrew Kerr said:

I today sought assurances from Edinburgh Schools Partnership that their ongoing programme of inspections would give us the confidence to reopen our schools. I have offered to help them secure the necessary resources to complete this as quickly as possible.

I also reminded them of their contractual and financial obligations and want to assure Edinburgh residents that they will not be left footing the bill.

The safety of children and our staff is our main priority and I’m simply not willing to compromise on this. I fully recognise the significant inconvenience to parents caused by these closures but I am sure they will understand why we had to take these steps.

Officers are continuing to work on contingency arrangements and we will provide regular updates to parents and carers as and when further information becomes available.

I am extremely grateful to those partner organisations who have come forward with offers of assistance and accommodation.

The premises that will be initially closed from Monday are as follows:

Schools: Braidburn, Broomhouse Primary, Castleview Primary, Craigour Park Primary, Craigmount High, Craigroyston Primary, Drummond Community High, Firrhill High, Forthview Primary, Gracemount High, Oxgangs Primary School, Pirniehill Primary, Rowanfield, Royal High, St David’s Primary, St Joseph’s Primary and St Peters RC Primary.

Other: Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre.

Priority will be given to continue the preparations for S4, S5 and S6 students who are preparing for exams over the coming weeks.

Further details regarding the school closures are on the Council website.

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