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Thousands of pupils affected by Scotland school closures

Safety concerns at 17 PPP buildings in Scotland has left students stranded just before exam season

Posted by Stephanie Broad | April 12, 2016 | Security & safety

Emergency inspections have seen 17 public private partnership (PPP) schools closed in Edinburgh, as pupils were due to return from the Easter break.

Ten primary schools, five secondaries and two special schools have closed due to concerns over the safety of their construction, affecting 7,000 pupils.  All Scottish councils are now inspecting schools built under the same contract, which are likely to be affected.

Edinburgh Council’s chief executive, Andrew Kerr, told the BBC that exams for secondary school pupils were expected to go ahead, and the council had received offers of help from universities and local authorities. As of 11 April, Edinburgh Council’s website statement confirmed that primary and special school pupils would be able to return to school on the following Monday.

Larry Flanagan, General Secretary of Scottish teaching union EIS, said: “The EIS welcomes that the safety of pupils and staff is being treated as a priority, while recognising that these short-notice closures will be highly inconvenient for pupils and parents.

“The Council has taken a very difficult decision to close the schools but it is also, in these circumstances, the correct decision.

“However, we must also question how such significant defaults could escape normal building control scrutiny and we believe it will be necessary for a review of all PPP/PFI contracts, including the terms of the private maintenance contracts, to ensure that all school buildings are safe and are being properly maintained.”

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