Council moves quickly to reassure over school estate

Laurence Findlay -
Laurence Findlay – reassurances after closure of Edinburgh schools

THE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION and social care at Moray Council has moved quickly to reassure the Moray public that the no schools in the region are affected by the crisis affecting Edinburgh.

A total of 17 schools in the capital have remained closed after the Easter Holidays amid fears over their safety having all been built by the same company under public private partnership arrangements.

Ten primary schools, five secondary and two additional support schools were ordered not to reopen as concerns were being raised over their standard of construction.

All of the affected schools are around ten years old and the crisis has been prompted after serious structural issues were discovered in one primary school on Friday. All the schools were built by the same firm, Miller Construction.

On Monday, Moray Council’s director of education and social care, Laurence Findlay, assured parents that no school in Moray was in any way affected by the crisis facing Edinburgh.

He said: “Miller Construction, the contractors responsible for the schools built under the PPP initiative in Edinburgh, has not undertaken any work on behalf of the Moray Council.

“We have a five-year rolling programme of health and safety and building standards audits on our schools carried out by our quantity surveyor staff.

“We are confident that all our schools meet appropriate standards. However, we have no complacency in relation to the standards of our school buildings and we continue to monitor our school estate very closely at all times.”

Education Secretary Angela Constance said that answers were needed over what went wrong in Edinburgh and why. She added: “The Scottish government expects all local authorities to exercise their duties in the provision of education in a safe environment.

“The immediate priority is to ensure that everything is being done to support children.”

Meanwhile NHS Grampian has sought an assurance that Health Centres built under similar PPP initiative arrangements with Miller Construction are safe.

Health Centres in Aberdeen and Moray – at Forres – have been built in recent years by Miller.  NHS Grampian has said that while the Health Centres were of a different design to schools, it has sought assurances that similar defects were not inherent in any of the designs.