Call for urgent checks on Clydesdale’s PFI schools

Lanark Grammar School. (Picture Sarah Peters)
Lanark Grammar School. (Picture Sarah Peters)

Pride over the fact that almost all Clydesdale’s schools have been rebuilt in the past decade turned to concern this week following a safety scare over similar modern buildings in Edinburgh.

Seventeen of the capital’s schools have been closed for emergency checks after major flaws were discovered in some of the buildings constructed under the public/private finance initiative scheme,

In Clydesdale South Lanarkshire Council has, in the recent past, replaced all four of the area’s secondaries under a similar finance scheme and calls have been made for immediate safety checks to be made on all of them. (New primaries were built from traditional council capital funds.)

Standing for re-election as the area’s MSP, Aileen Campbell, describing the finance scheme as “poor value”, said: “The scale of the closures in Edinburgh makes it clear that these problems were not specific to one or two buildings. I’ve asked the council to clarify whether these closures have any ramifications for South Lanarkshire’s PFI schools.

“The council should urgently inspect the schools estate and ensure parents are kept fully informed.”

School safety campaigner, Kirkfieldbank mum Julia Marrs, has also written to the council seeking re-assurances on safety of our new schools, which include Lanark Grammar, Carluke, Biggar and Lesmahagow high schools,

South Lanarkshire Council’s Executive Director of Education, Jim Gilhooly, said: “Pupils are still on holiday and are not due to return until next week.

“We have already undertaken some checks and have no safety issues at this time. However, we are awaiting detailed information from the Scottish Government in relation to the recent further structural concerns raised by Edinburgh Council, and will undertake necessary safety checks as a matter of priority.”