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Scottish Government orders review of safety at Buchanan High and St Ambrose High campus

Scottish Government orders review of safety at Buchanan High and St Ambrose High campus

Tap water - Image credit: Adobe Stock

An immediate review of health and safety at a school campus in North Lanarkshire is to be launched after concerns were raised about possible chemical contamination.

Deputy first minister and education secretary John Swinney announced that the Scottish Government will carry out an “independent and impartial” review at the shared Buchanan and St Ambrose High School site.

Parents and teachers have flagged up worries about the Coatbridge campus, which as previous used to store waste, after ‘blue water’ was seen coming from the taps, with twelve teachers in the NASUWT union to strike over it.

The review has been jointly agreed between the Scottish Government, North Lanarkshire Council and NHS Lanarkshire and will be completed ahead of the next school year.

NHS Lanarkshire said it “believe[d] the schools to be safe” after investigations by public health officials, but Swinney said the review would “provide further reassurance”.

The education secretary said: “There have been a number of significant concerns raised by families, teachers and elected representatives about the safety of the Buchanan and St Ambrose High School.

“I recognise that North Lanarkshire Council and NHS Lanarkshire have undertaken extensive work in an effort to address the concerns expressed by the local community.

“However in light of continuing concerns being raised, ministers have agreed with North Lanarkshire Council and NHS Lanarkshire to immediately commission an impartial, independent review.

“This will assess existing evidence and determine if more needs to be done to further mitigate any concerns of pupils, their parents and staff and provide further reassurance to the local community.”

Commenting on the review, North Lanarkshire Council chief executive Des Murray said: “We welcome this review and the support of the Scottish Government in addressing the concerns of families, staff and the local community.”

NHS Lanarkshire chief executive Calum Campbell said: “Following thorough investigations by our public health department we believe the schools to be safe.

“We welcome the review as an opportunity to provide even further reassurance to families, staff at the schools and the community.  We look forward to working with the review team to support this work.”

The review will be led by the Scottish Government’s chief planning reporter, Paul Cackette, and Dr Margaret Hannah, a former director of public health.

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