Scottish schools forced to close due to health and safety failings

17 Scottish schools have been forced to close following inspections of the schools which were all built under a public private partnership arrangement.

The matter is isolated to a number of schools in the Edinburgh area but as a precautionary measure all schools in Scotland that could be affected have been or will be inspected to ensure they are structurally sound. To date this has affected 7,000 pupils and closures have been in place since just after the Easter break.

The affected Edinburgh schools are all around 10 years old and the initial concerns were prompted by a survey carried out by workers who were repairing structural damage at one school. As a result of this they found evidence of “further serious defects” with the building which deemed the school unfit for the school population.

Education Secretary, Angela Constance said of the matter: –

“We will certainly need answers about what went wrong and why. There are, of course, big questions about PFI contracts. It’s no secret that this government has longstanding concern but I’ve no doubt that when parliament reconvenes in three or four weeks’ time that there will be renewed interest in this area.”

The affected schools have received offers from universities and even the Scottish parliament to help with providing a place for schoolchildren to learn which is admirable. Of deep concern is the PFI contracts that were drawn up at the time and whether the serious failings were owing to the drive for value for money or simply working practice which fell deeply below acceptable standards.

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