New safety fears at Liberton High after pupil's near miss

An angry parent has questioned the safety of her son's school after a ceiling tile fell, narrowly missing the 12-year-old Liberton High pupil.

Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 6:00 am
Liberton High School. Picture: Greg Macvean

A roof tile from the suspended ceiling came down in the main reception area of the building, outside the canteen last week.

Sarah Buchan said her son Ciaran had been left shaken after one of the tiles hit the ground in front of him. She explained: “He told me that during morning break he was leaving the canteen when a ceiling tile fell very close to him, giving him a fright.

“Apparently tiles had fallen earlier in the day and had been cleared up. There was no area cordoned off where this happened.

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“Teachers asked the children if everyone was ok and escorted them out a different exit.

“But what infuriates me is why wasn’t this area cordoned off after the first tiles fell?

“And nobody contacted me to let me know what had happened – surely parents should know when a dangerous 
situation has happened in the school?”

Sarah added that the deputy head had apologised for not notifying her. “He said they were all angry that this has happened but that it was being dealt with. They did speak to my son and told me how angry they were with the 
contractors for not completing the job properly.”

Contractors tasked with heating upgrades at the school during the Easter holiday have been blamed for slack workmanship and have been suspended.

An Edinburgh council spokesperson said: “Two ceiling tiles fell in the foyer of Liberton High School at the beginning of last week. No-one was hurt and the area was immediately made safe by staff.

“Our investigations into the incident are ongoing but it would appear that it was related to works carried out over the Easter break.

“We expect the highest possible standards from any contractors working on the council’s estate and, in this case, the contractor concerned fell well short of these.

“As such, senior council officers met with the managing director of the company and suspended them from the council’s framework contract with immediate effect. The ceiling was replaced over the weekend.”

Keane Wallis-Bennett passed away aged 12 when a freestanding “modesty” wall in the old PE block at Liberton High School collapsed on her.

Sarah said it is the knowledge of the tragedy that has deepened Ciaran’s fear. “My son knows what happened to Keane – he’s terrified. I send him there thinking it’s a safe place to go. I was wary of sending him to Liberton but he really wanted to go – it is a good school – the sports centre is excellent and it’s just the building they need to do something about it and the lack of communication to parents needs sorted.”