Edinburgh schools closure reports: the findings

A collapsed wall at Oxgangs Primary School..
A collapsed wall at Oxgangs Primary School..

The inquiry into the construction of schools in Edinburgh was led by construction expert Professor John Cole, an architect with 30 years’ experience.

Prof Cole interviewed a wide range of people for the report including representatives from those who built the schools, the Edinburgh Schools Partnership (ESP), architects, structural engineers, parents, teachers and former and current council staff from various departments.

He also took evidence from professionals and experts in the procurement and construction industries.

The inquiry had nine remits, which included:

Reasons for the wall collapse;

Use of private finance for building projects;

The city council’s role in providing quality assurance of the buildings;

Contractual arrangements between the council and Edinburgh Schools Partnership (ESP) who manage and run the schools on the council’s behalf; and

Any recommendations for the council, other bodies and the wider industry.

Some of the key findings from the report, which runs to over 250 pages, include:

The collapse of the wall was due to poor construction and inadequate supervision;

Insufficient independent quality assurance and poor record keeping by the council and ESP;

Ineffective quality assurance measures within the construction industry;

The Council made the correct decision to close the 17 schools;

The alternative education arrangements put in place for over 8300 pupils was a “remarkable feat”;

The issues identified in Edinburgh are likely to be more widespread

The report also contains many recommendations for the council and other bodies, both public and private, as well as the construction industry.

These relate to areas such as procurement, construction, training and recruitment, the role of the building standards and independent certifiers and the sharing of information.