PFI school builders answer calls of 'no confidence' ahead of Oxgangs meet
The consortium in charge of construction and maintenance of 17 school buildings has issued a statement in a bid to reassure parents that safety is their 'primary concern' just hours before a meeting to address the issues at Oxgangs.
The Edinburgh Schools Partnership said they were acutely aware of the heightened sensitivities about Oxgangs primary school after the wall collapse in 2016.
The collapse of an outer wall at originally sparked school closures in 2016 when safety checks uncovered structural faults at all 17 sites.
In February, ceiling tiles and part of a ceiling frame came down, hitting one child. Then last month, staff and pupils were ordered to stay indoors as roof flashings were blown loose in strong winds.
The council said it had been told by ESP the building had since been made safe but inspections showed that was not the case.
Urgent repairs on the roof and in suspended ceilings at the school were then carried out by the council.
The statement comes days after city council chief executive Andrew Kerr accused the consortium responsible for Edinburgh’s PFI schools of “trying to hide” from problems with the building at Oxgangs Primary. And he told them it is “not acceptable” for them to refuse to attend a public meeting with parents.
ESP said they would increase the monitoring of contractor Amey’s planned maintenance regime through an independent party.
It stated: “This regime will be over and above the contractual requirements and will be put in place as soon as practicable. The intended purpose is to provide reassurance to the pupils, parents and staff occupying the schools. The cost of any enhanced monitoring will not be passed to the Council.
“ESP is open to meeting with the Head Teacher of Oxgangs Primary and, if appropriate, a representative of the Parent Teacher Council to provide more details in due course. ESP also remains open to discussing with the Council further potential improvements to the monitoring of the maintenance of the PPP1 estate.
“In summary, please be assured that ESP treats the concerns raised very seriously. It remains fully committed to continually improving the way the school estate is managed and maintained, to ensure the safety of both children and staff within it, and to provide reassurance to parents.”
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