Fresh calls for improved safety measures at schools
There were more than 140 safety incidents and "near misses" recorded in Scottish schools in the last two years
Image credit: Flickr/Kay Williams
Calls have been made for building reports to be included in school inspections after it emerged at least 143 safety incidents were recorded at Scottish schools in the last two years.
Figures obtained through freedom of information requests to local councils revealed a catalogue of incidents and near misses involving walls collapsing, windows falling onto playgrounds, ceiling tiles striking teachers, loose concrete hitting pupils and football goalposts caving in.
Three of the incidents took place at Liberton High in Edinburgh, the school where 12-year-old Keane Wallis-Bennett died when a wall collapsed in 2014.
One of the incidents at Liberton High – which happened in April this year – involved a “heavy ceiling tile” which fell and landed “close to a pupil”, with another falling and landing near a teacher.
A child was trapped under a sliding partition door after it came off its runners at a new school in Dumfries and Galloway that was forced to close after numerous safety incidents occurred in just a few weeks.
A pupil was also struck by a falling whiteboard at the £28m North West Community Campus in Dumfries before it was closed.
At Clermiston Primary in Edinburgh, a window next to a pupil fell in “due to a gust of wind” last year.
And a similar incident happened at a Glasgow school in September this year when a “window (glass and frame) became detached and fell approximately five metres to the playground”.
Other incidents include a pupil being struck by a metal panel from a roof in West Lothian, and a ceiling collapse in East Ayrshire.
Scotland-wide, the true figure is likely to be even higher, with many councils failing to collect and publish the information.
The Scottish Conservatives, who submitted the freedom of information request, have now renewed their call for building reports to be included in school inspections in order to keep children and staff safe and in appropriate buildings.
Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary Liz Smith said: “Each one of these incidents represents a risky situation that children or staff have been put in while at school.
“Children and staff must be safe at school, and the fabric of the school buildings must be maintained properly.
“Including building reports in school inspections is an obvious way to ensure that school buildings are fit for purpose and prevent any more avoidable accidents.
“It is extremely fortunate that more children or staff haven’t been hurt.
“The SNP must ensure that schools are properly built and maintained; including building reports in school inspections would enable effective monitoring of school buildings and prevent further harm.”
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