UNDER-FIRE council chiefs are facing angry calls to assure parents that city schools are safe after the chief executive was forced to order urgent new checks across all 17 of its privately built schools.
It’s the latest development in a scandal that has engulfed Edinburgh’s private build partnership ever since crumbling walls and collapsing ceilings sparked a widespread review of school estates.
Today, the city’s top official Andew Kerr admitted more faults had been found at Oxgangs Primary School - even after previous assurances that problems had been fixed - blaming contractors and sparking an urgent review over all sites built in similar ways.
READ MORE: Oxgangs Primary structural defects replicated in 19 other Capital buildings
In an alarming admission, he said: “We are extremely concerned at these latest construction defects at Oxgangs Primary School following the wall collapse two years ago and the Edinburgh Schools Partnership have to be held accountable.
“It was our own proactive inspections that identified these latest issues and we will be seeking answers from ESP as they have once again let down the parents and council over the condition of the school.”
READ MORE: Pupil struck by ceiling tile at Oxgangs Primary
The new revelations drew sharp criticisms from parents and councillors, including the Green’s Gavin Corbett, who said: “All of these faults should and could have been picked up and acted on before the council had to send in its own inspectors. And if it has not happened at Oxgangs how can we be confident that has happened in other schools?”
READ MORE: Parents threaten to remove children from damaged Oxgangs School
Chair of Oxgangs Parent Council Richard Imlach said parents are angry, frustrated and concerned for the safety of their children. He said: “We’ve had assurances on multiple occasions over the last two years that the building is safe to enter and use, but we have further reports which highlight significant defects, with news that further remedial works need to be undertaken. Parents really need an end to this for the sake of their children’s education, and the safety of children and staff. We await the full condition report next week with baited breath.”
Mr Kerr, confirming 17 schools will be covered by the new review. placed the blame firmly with contractors ESP.
Labour Cllr Scott Arthur said it is time the council cut ties with poor value PFI contracts, and said: “There is a massive gap between what parents expect and what ESP is delivering. What these latest findings show is that it’s time to end the use of PFI type contracts.”
A spokesperson for ESP said: “We are aware of the statement issued by the City of Edinburgh this morning and we are currently reviewing all issues regarding ongoing work at Oxgangs Primary School. We will be releasing more information once this review has been complete.”
Nine tonnes of masonry fell during a storm in January 2016 closing all 17 schools.
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