PCC Mar 2016 News

School Closure and Remedial Repair, 26/03/2016

Councillor Elaine Aitken has indicated to the Oxgangs Parent Council (OPC) that the St Peter’s Parent Council meeting was held on Tuesday, and that she had requested a rep. From Edinburgh Schools Partnership (ESP) or from Children and Families (C&F) attend to answer St. Peter’s Parent Council questions.  She has offered to seek their attendance at the next Oxgangs PC meeting.

The OPC will seek to bring our next meeting forward to a date in April, and ask both in our own capacity, and through Councillor Aitken to request attendance from ESP and/or C&F representative.  Please check in for further details after the Easter break.

School Closure and Remedial Repair, 24/03/2016

Councillors Jason Rust and Elaine Aitken have put forward a motion at the Pentlands Neighbourhood Partnership (an advisory committee of the council) – the motion can be found here.  The motion was unanimously approved and should prompt a report back on the points noted.

Councillor Rust is still seeking access to the report paid for by Edinburgh Schools Partnership into the construction issues.  Councillor Aitken has indicated that the Q&A on the Council website will be updated to reflect the latest info. next week.  The Q&A can be found at the following webstite: http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/schoolclosures

School Closure and Remedial Repair, 24/03/2016

Update following conversation between PC Chair and Andy Gray, Head of Schools at City of Edinburgh Council. Today.  These are my notes from our conversation.

Structural stability of the school:

Mr Gray indicated that the Engineer’s report concluded that the core structure of the building was sound.  He indicated that the lastest findings of the engineers had concluded that, while cladding was sufficiently strong to withstand normal weather conditions, exceptional weather conditions (winds over 100 mph) may cause further damage.  He went on to indicate that the remedial repairs to the remaining external cladding will provide additional strength over and above the design requirement.

Timescales:

Mr Gray indicated that he was waiting for a report from the Edinburgh Schools Building Project before he could issue an update on the school closure via ParentMail.  He indicated that he hoped to be able to issue the ParentMail today, or tomorrow, the 25th.

Mr Gray stated that his intention is to have the school reopen after the Easter break.  With the problems recently found at St. Peters, he was not in a position to guarantee that all the remedial repairs to any school would be complete.  He indicated that the sequence was likely to start with strengthening around the entrance/exit points to the school and proceed from there.  If there remains any further areas requiring remedial repair after the Easter break, these would be made secure such that the school could reopen.  Mr Gray indicated that his expectation, based upon Engineering reports, was that all remedial work (i.e., strengthening of the cladding attachment) and repair work (i.e., rebuild of the gable wall) would be complete by the end of the summer break and that the Engineering works would provide a very high level of structural integrity.

Communications:

Mr Gray acknowledged that the original notice of closure was at very short notice and could have included further information regarding the stability of the building so as to not unduly raise concern amongst parents. However, the council only received the Engineering report in the middle of the afternoon of the 15th . Once they had read it and decided that the safest option was to close the school, there was very little time to write at length about the reasons for the closure, the priority being to inform parents that the school had to close for reasons of guaranteeing safety.