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Edinburgh schools remain closed

Edinburgh schools remain closed Image caption The problems were first uncovered after a wall collapsed at Oxgangs Primary during high winds in January

Seventeen schools in Edinburgh remain closed for another day as safety inspections continue.

About 7,000 pupils have been unable to return to their classrooms after the Easter break.

The city council said urgent work would need to be done on at least four of the schools.

The 10 primaries affected will not reopen until Monday but plans were being made to get some high school pupils back sooner.

The problems were first uncovered in January when a wall at Oxgangs Primary collapsed during high winds.

Further closures were prompted after workers repairing serious structural issues at the primary found "further serious defects" with the building on Friday.

In all, 10 primaries, five secondaries and two additional support needs schools have been shut.

Image caption Repair work is being carried out at Oxgangs Primary

All the schools, which are about 10 years old, were constructed under the same public private partnership contract.

A first phase was built by a combination of Miller Construction and Amey - with seven built by other contractors.

A second phase of four schools were all built by Miller. Miller Construction was later acquired by Galliford Try in 2014, who also took contractual responsibility for the second phase schools - now found to require emergency work to remedy defects.

These four schools needing work are Oxgangs, St Peter's, Braidburn and Firrhill.

Gracemount and Craigmount high schools are also scheduled for repairs before reopening.

The firm said: "Galliford Try takes its role as a responsible contractor very seriously and the safety of the pupils and staff is paramount."

Award-winning architect Malcolm Fraser warned of the scale of the challenge facing the City of Edinburgh Council to keep on top of safety issues at the schools.

Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, he said it was extremely difficult to pinpoint all structural issues.

He said: "The issue is, when everything is covered up, it's very hard to tell where these other things and other problems might lie.

"So when you do look at political demands for why haven't all schools been checked etc, you almost have to take a school to bits to find out that these issues are there.

"And you don't really understand that there is a problem until something catastrophic goes wrong as it has at Oxgangs, which has led all these other inspections to happen."

A statement from the City of Edinburgh Council on Monday evening said it hoped all primary and special needs pupils would be able to return by the start of next week.

Officials said that "significant work" had been undertaken to ensure that 2,000 S4, S5 and S6 pupils would be accommodated as soon as possible.

  • Firrhill, Drummond and Royal High Schools - Years S4 to S6 will be able to return to their own schools on Wednesday
  • Gracemount and Craigmount High schools - An update for years S4 to S6 will be made on Tuesday

The council said alternative arrangements would need to be worked out for all S1 to S3 pupils.

Concerns had been raised about the need to accommodate senior pupils who are due to sit exams soon and have coursework and assessments to complete.

Many parents have also expressed anger and frustration at having to arrange extra childcare at such short notice.

Image caption Structural surveys on the schools affected are continuing

Edinburgh University, the Scottish Parliament, community groups, venues and private sector companies have all offered help.

The local authority confirmed that structural surveys would continue to be carried out this week.

Meanwhile, every other Scottish council has carried out, or is going to carry out, surveys of school buildings that could be affected.

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