Holyrood asks Edinburgh Council what went wrong at Liberton High

SCOTTISH Government officials are looking for answers from the city council on why major maintenance works promised at Liberton High School over the summer holidays was not carried out.

Thursday, 13th September 2018, 6:00 am
Liberton High School. 
Picture: Ian Rutherford
Liberton High School. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Sources confirmed that civil servants working for Education Secretary John Swinney phoned council officials to find out what had gone wrong.

The school – where 12-year-old Keane Wallis-Bennett died in 2014 when a wall collapsed – was due to have essential work carried out during the break.

That included replacing ceiling tiles after one narrowly missed a pupil when it fell down in the school foyer; and installing additional security after three intruders, at least one of them armed, got into the school grounds.

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After discovering the work had not been done, furious parents said their fears about the condition of the school reached “crisis point”.

The Scottish Government has no direct involvement in the maintenance of city schools but sources said it had kept in closer contact with the council since 17 schools were forced to close in 2016 amid structural problems with their buildings.

A government spokesman said: “While this is a matter for the council, the safety of pupils and staff is our primary concern. We would encourage the council to ensure the maintenance works are undertaken as a matter of urgency, with all stakeholders, including parents and carers, kept fully informed.”

Meanwhile, Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs is urging Mr Swinney to visit Liberton High.

He said: “It’s time for real commitment from the council and the Scottish Government to maintain and build a new Liberton High School.

“SNP ministers say that education is one of their top priorities, but at the same time neglect Liberton High School, creating an environment that is not conducive to learning.”

Following the outcry over the failure to carry out the promised summer works, education convener Ian Perry has agreed to meet parent council chair Derek McNeill.

Cllr Perry said he was speaking to officials to find out why the work had not been done.

He said: “I understand why parents are feeling anxious about the situation. Clearly I need to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible and I will report back to the chair of the parent council when I have all the facts.”