Edinburgh PPP1 schools
This statement is intended to provide details about the steps ESP has taken with its maintenance contractor AMEY and to provide reassurance about other measures being undertaken to address council and parent concerns.
ESP is acutely aware of the heightened sensitivities about Oxgangs Primary School given what happened in 2016. The safety of the children and staff at Oxgangs and the remainder of the PPP1 School estate is of primary concern to the Board of ESP.
Ceiling Tile Grid System
On Wednesday 21 February at around 4.30pm the after-school club at Oxgangs notified AMEY about a problem with the ceiling tile grid system. This was a partial collapse of a small area (around 1.5 square metres) in a recessed area of a classroom. AMEY attended the site at 6pm on the same day and took all necessary steps to deal with the situation. The classroom was handed back at 11am the next morning.
It is important to note that such systems are part of the fabric, rather than the structure, of the building. They are non-load bearing and are used to conceal the wiring, pipework and structural elements above. As with other aspects of the building, they are subject to inevitable wear and tear during use of the space.
After dealing with this incident, AMEY inspected the rest of the ceiling tile grid system across the whole of the PPP1 estate (including Oxgangs) and confirmed to both ESP and the Council that there were no significant safety issues.
In addition, the Council organised its own independent review of the ceiling tile grid system at Oxgangs. This inspection was undertaken on the weekend of 17/18 March and a report was provided to ESP and AMEY on 5 April. This report included various recommendations, the vast majority of which were cosmetic or minor. AMEY actioned all of these recommendations by 9 April.
At around 9am on 15 March it was reported that a section of flashing on the roof at Oxgangs became partially dislodged during a period of high winds. At around 9.30am AMEY and its specialist sub-contractor attended the site and removed the section of flashing (which had been damaged beyond repair). At this time the specialist contractor advised that they had visually inspected the adjacent area and no other issues were evident.
The Council also organised an independent review of the roof on Sunday 18 April. This identified some concerns with some inadequate fixings and corroding fixings on the roof. All works were completed within 90 minutes of ESP and AMEY being notified.
The roofs across the whole PPP1 estate (including Oxgangs) are inspected annually by AMEY’s specialist roofing contractor. Because of what happened at Oxgangs, ESP instructed AMEY to accelerate the roof inspections across the estate. While full written and photographic reports are awaited, no safety issues requiring immediate attention have been raised with AMEY.
ESP is currently looking at increasing the monitoring of AMEY’s planned preventative maintenance regime (including, but not limited to, the annual inspections referred to above). This monitoring will be undertaken by an independent party and the council will be invited to comment on the scope of this arrangement in advance. This regime will be over and above the contractual requirements and will be put in place as soon as practicable. The intended purpose is to provide reassurance to the pupils, parents and staff occupying the schools. The cost of any enhanced monitoring will not be passed to the Council.
ESP is open to meeting with the Head Teacher of Oxgangs Primary and, if appropriate, a representative of the Parent Teacher Council to provide more details in due course. ESP also remains open to discussing with the Council further potential improvements to the monitoring of the maintenance of the PPP1 estate.
In summary, please be assured that ESP treats the concerns raised very seriously. It remains fully committed to continually improving the way the school estate is managed and maintained, to ensure the safety of both children and staff within it, and to provide reassurance to parents.