Liberton High death: School walls cordoned off

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Several walls have been cordoned off at Edinburgh schools following inspections in the wake of he tragic death of Keane Wallis-Bennett at Liberton High.

Inspections at all city schools were completed on Thursday, with nine similar walls to the one which collapsed at Liberton identified in changing rooms and toilets at Catlebrae High and Leith Academy.

The pupil killed by a collapsing wall at Liberton High School has been named locally as Keane Grace Wallis-Bennett, 12.

The pupil killed by a collapsing wall at Liberton High School has been named locally as Keane Grace Wallis-Bennett, 12.

There were also a number of smaller free standing walls identified at primary schools. No structural defects have been found although some areas have been cordoned off as a precaution until the end of term.

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Keane Grace Wallis-Bennett , Liberton High School death.  Public domain.

Keane Grace Wallis-Bennett , Liberton High School death. Public domain.

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Liberton High School this morning. Picture: David McCann

Liberton High School this morning. Picture: David McCann

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Liberton High School. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Liberton High School. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Council Chief Executive, Sue Bruce, said: “This has been a dreadful incident and my deepest sympathies, and those of my colleagues, are with the family and friends of Keane.

“The Council has taken immediate action and we are determined to provide reassurance to parents, pupils and the people of Edinburgh that we will do everything in our power to prevent anything like this happening again.”

Twelve-year-old Keane died when a modesty wall in the school’s PE block collapsed on Tuesday morning.

Her family paid tribute to her, describing her as “our princess who dreamed of being prime minister”.

Headteacher Stephen Kelly said she was “a bright and bubbly personality” who got on well with others.

The school will not reopen this week and a full council survey of Liberton High will be completed before pupils return from the Easter holidays in three weeks.

Parents at the school were informed of the tragedy by a text message sent out by the Head Teacher Stephen Kelly.

Parents at the school were informed of the tragedy by a text message sent out by the Head Teacher Stephen Kelly.

Other councils across the country are also being encouraged to carry out checks.

Scotland’s Education Secretary Mike Russell said: “I’m sure every council is making every effort now to make sure that every building it has is suitable and fit for purpose.”

Dozens of bright flowers, cuddly toys, cards and hand-written letters have been placed under the entrance sign to Liberton High School by fellow pupils, family and friends.

In a statement released through Police Scotland, Keane’s family said: “She was our princess who dreamed of being prime minister. But failing that, a beautician.

“She loved her girlfriends and her days out shopping with lunches and all things girly. She recently attended her first under-18 disco and loved every second of it and was excited to be going to see One Direction in concert.”

During a survey of all Edinburgh schools last year, no concerns were identified with the wall that collapsed, the council has said.

Paul Godzik, the council’s education convener, said everything possible is being done to help those affected by the death.

He said: “Our immediate priority as a council is to support Keane’s family and the whole school community.

“It is important we find out exactly what happened here and as a Council we are working closely with the Police and Health and Safety Executive as investigations continue.

“The council is carrying out inspections in all schools which may have similar walls and, if required, immediate action will be taken.”

The death is the second tragedy to hit the school in recent months.

Jamie Skinner, 13, a pupil at Liberton High School, died after collapsing on a football pitch while playing for Tynecastle FC at the end of last year.