School closures: Three Capital schools to reopen next month

THREE schools affected by the recent closures are to reopen next month, the council has announced.

Friday, 29th April 2016, 3:36 pm
Updated Friday, 29th April 2016, 4:42 pm
Cllr Andrew Burns at portacabin classrooms at the Royal High School. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Edinburgh Schools Partnership (ESP), the private finance consortium which built and maintains the schools on behalf of the council, has now handed officials a full timetable for repairs.

City chiefs said pupils will return to Oxgangs Primary, St Peter’s Primary and Braidburn School by Tuesday, May 24, with Firrhill High due to fully reopen by June 6.

Both the Royal High and Drummond Community High are expected to reopen completely by June 20, with Broomhouse Primary and St Joseph’s Primary due to throw open their doors by Monday, June 27.

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Meanwhile, S1 and S2 pupils from Firrhill - currently being taught at Edinburgh Napier University’s Craiglockhart campus - will return to their own school next Tuesday.

But ESP said some of the remaining nine schools may stay closed until August 8 - ahead of the pupils returning from holiday on Wednesday, August 17.

The council said parents would be updated promptly if it was possible to bring forward any of these dates.

The news means more than 4000 pupils will be back in their schools before the end of the summer term.

Meanwhile, alternative arrangements will remain in place in the coming weeks as vital repair work continues at the 17 schools closed earlier this month amid safety fears.

Buses for Craigmount pupils are due to arrive at an earlier time next week in response to parent concerns over the impact of journeys on teaching time.

City bosses insisted the repair programme was subject to the council receiving “satisfactory quality assurances” from ESP, as well as “appropriate safety assurances”.

We revealed previously that council chiefs will send in their own surveyors to double-check ESP’s repairs.

Officials have stipulated that a number of stringent measures must be met before the schools can reopen and these will be made available to parents via the council website.

Goodtrees Community Centre is expected to reopen on Monday, August 15.

Council leader Andrew Burns said: “Being able to reopen three schools next month and a further five in June is a positive step forward and means over 4,000 pupils should be back in their schools before the end of the summer term.

“The planned programme of remediation works from Edinburgh Schools Partnership gives everyone a clearer picture of when schools will reopen and I am sure parents will welcome the news.

“I want to again thank all those affected by the closures, for their patience during this period of uncertainty.

“The safety of our children is our number one priority and we all want our schools to reopen safely, as soon as possible.

“We will continue to work with ESP and their partners to ensure all work and quality checks are completed, so we can update parents as quickly with information about their schools.

“If we are able to bring forward reopening dates then we will do so. I would like to thank all school staff and colleagues across the Council for their continued support, professionalism and commitment.

“This has been a challenging time and the way everyone has pulled together, both in the closed and receiving schools, has been exceptional. Everyone is working together to minimise the impact on our children.”

Today’s announcement means 890 pupils are set to return to their own schools by May 24, with another 500 returning to their schools on June 27.