Release Oxgangs Primary wall collapse report: parents

CONCERNED parents are calling for the release of a 'confidential' report into the collapse of a wall at a city primary school earlier this year.
The collapsed wall at Oxgangs Primary following Storm Gertrude. Picture: Toby WilliamsThe collapsed wall at Oxgangs Primary following Storm Gertrude. Picture: Toby Williams
The collapsed wall at Oxgangs Primary following Storm Gertrude. Picture: Toby Williams

Structural engineers carried out an emergency inspection of Oxgangs Primary after tonnes of masonry were blown off its wall during a storm in January.

Their report saw Oxgangs shut until after the Easter holidays, while three more city schools were also temporarily closed amid similar safety fears.

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Inspections at St Peter’s RC Primary, Firrhill High and Braidburn Special School raised doubt over whether classrooms would be completely safe in bad weather.

All four schools were built by the same contractors under the Public Private Partnership 1 (PPP1) agreement.

Parents insist the full report into the Oxgangs wall collapse, which was given to the council on a confidential basis, should be made public.

One slammed the council for the “lack of information”, adding: “Ultimately, we need to know that when the kids go back into that building, it’s going to be safe.”

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The Capital’s £360 million PPP1 deal created a PFI consortium called the Edinburgh Schools Partnership (ESP), which includes Miller Construction and the Bank of Scotland.

Last night, it emerged safety checks would be carried out at schools across Scotland which were built by Miller Construction under similar schemes.

Oxgangs councillor Jason Rust, who is also pushing for the release of the school report, said there would be “increasing concern” among parents at the lack of transparency.

He said: “The report would ideally address the governance of the project. Given the council issued a building warrant and completion certificate, we need to understand the scrutiny and level of oversight at the time of the build. Transparency is vital for there to be confidence in the school community.”

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A spokeswoman for ESP failed to confirm whether ongoing surveys into all 17 of Edinburgh’s PPP1 schools would be made public.

She said: “Following the reopening of Oxgangs Primary School in early February, a survey was carried out on the school building by technical engineers which included recommendations for a more detailed survey.

“This further survey was carried out on March 14, focusing on the external walls of the school building, identifying an issue with the wall cavities and the wall ties. The survey recommended remedial works on these walls.”

A council spokesman said: “The survey was commissioned by Edinburgh Schools Partnership and the findings provided to the council on a confidential basis so we are not in a position to release their document.”

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