Edinburgh set to upgrade its ‘poor’ schools

Roofing, windows, doors and heating will all be upgraded at Sciennes Primary. Picture: Jon Savage
Roofing, windows, doors and heating will all be upgraded at Sciennes Primary. Picture: Jon Savage
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FIFTEEN city schools are to be refurbished as part of the first tranche of council-owned properties to receive investment after they were officially declared in “poor” condition.

The work – most of which is expected to start in the summer – includes roofing, window renewal, external fabric improvements, toilet replacement, decoration and replacement floor coverings.

A report in January revealed 80 council buildings were in “poor” or “bad” condition with a £153 million backlog in repairs and maintenance. The 
council’s budget passed last month included £48.9m of capital investment over the next five years to upgrade the properties.

Schools due for refurbishment in the first tranche are:

Balgreen Primary/Nursery £1.47m; Clermiston Primary £1.315m; Craiglockhart Primary £626,000; Duddingston Primary £900,000; East Craigs Primary £601,000; Echline Primary £655,000; Fox Covert/St Andrew’s Primary £1m; Gracemount Primary £710,000; James Gillespie’s Primary £685,000; Lorne Primary £451,000; Queensferry Primary £1.3m; Sciennes Primary £676,000; St Catherine’s £478,000; St Mary’s Leith £1.321m; and Trinity Primary £1.8m.

Major works will also be carried out at Broughton Primary £836,000; Murrayburn 
Primary £1.385m; Ratho Primary £405,000; St Ninian’s Primary £1m; and Wardie Primary £865,000.

Finance convener Alasdair Rankin has previously warned it many not be possible to do all the work during school holidays, meaning some pupils could face a temporary move.

But the council said it was too early to say which schools might be affected.

A briefing to councillors said the work was due for completion by March 2019 – “or where more substantial works are involved, March 2020”.

Other council buildings due for investment in the first tranche include the Usher Hall, where a boiler and heating upgrade will cost £820,000.

Tory education spokesman Callum Laidlaw said: “Our school estate has suffered from a lack of investment over ten to 20 years and it is worrying so many have fallen into poor condition.”

Green finance spokesman Gavin Corbett welcomed the investment. But he said: “The real test is turning the funding into a programme of work that gets the improvements carried out to the right standard and in a way that disrupts the day to day use of buildings as little as possible. Traditionally, it is the kind of work that has been earmarked for the school holidays but the sheer scale means that might not be possible in every case. If so, the council will need to have real conversations with schools about how best to manage works.”

Cllr Rankin said the council had committed to £18m of 
capital works for the coming year. He said: “I’m sure parents and other residents using our buildings will welcome this investment.

“This work is part of a sustained and focused strategy over the next five years. Creating a modern and fit-for-purpose estate, especially in our schools, is a priority for the council.”