Scottish secondary school could be forced to keep classrooms closed for several months after concrete 'faults' were found
A Scottish secondary school is drawing up contingency plans as fears grow that disruption linked to the discovery of “weak” concrete could continue for several months.
Head teacher Gavin Clark has now written to parents for a second time to confirm the construction material has been found in some parts of the building. He said “faults” had been discovered in the RAAC used at the school, meaning parts of the building will remain closed.
The UK government has called for checks to be carried out into the use of the material in schools, warning it is “much weaker” than traditional concrete, raising the "risk" of sudden or gradual structural failure.
RAAC was used in the construction of schools, colleges and other buildings from the 1950s until the mid-1990s. The panels were generally precast offsite and used for flat and pitched roofs, eaves, floors and walls.
In his letter to parents, Mr Clark suggested parts of the school could continue to be closed into the new school year. He wrote: “Although further disruption is inevitable, I’m sure you will agree that safety is paramount.
"In the event of disruption at the start of the new session in August, it would still be our intention to maintain provision for learning for all year groups within the facilities here at Preston Lodge.
"We are now considering what this means in terms of practical measures to maximise the availability of space.”
Mr Clark added: “While the continued temporary closure of some parts of the building is not the news any of us would have wished for, and will undoubtedly continue to present difficulties, we are committed to achieving the best possible learning experience for all students and staff.”
The areas of the school remaining closed are the PE gyms and games hall, the maths “gallery” classrooms, the top floor of C block, where modern languages, business, IT and RME are taught, as well as the top floor of the art and science block.
Local Conservative councillor Lachlan Bruce said: "There is going to be disruption at the school for the foreseeable future, which is obviously very disappointing and worrying for everyone involved.
"But I hope that carers, parents and pupils can take solace from knowing just how hard the school and council staff are working to keep that disruption to the very minimum possible with a particular focus of ensuring that when pupils return after summer break they receive the highest level of education."
An East Lothian Council spokesperson said: “As a result of faults identified in some elements of the RAAC which is present, it has been decided that – as a precautionary measure – some parts of the building will be kept closed, while inspections continue and engineers advise on potential options.”
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