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Summary

  1. School safety closures affect 7.000 pupils
  2. Campaigners call for more action on cold homes
  3. Downturn in Scottish economy 'intensifying'
  4. Woman's body discovered by fishing boat off Arbroath

Live Reporting

By Paul McLaren and Andrew Southwick

All times stated are UK

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Nichola Rutherford

BBC Scotland

It's been a busy day on the Live page - thanks for joining us. 

Follow the latest on the Edinburgh school closures on the BBC Scotland news website

Edinburgh school closures: a summary of the latest situation

Seventeen schools in Edinburgh remain closed tonight amid safety fears. 

The City of Edinburgh Council has said that urgent work will be required on "several" of those buildings. 

It has pledged to return all primary and secondary pupils to the classroom by next Monday at the latest. 

Work at an Edinburgh school
BBC

It says "significant work" has been undertaken that S4, S5 and S6 pupils can return to school quickly to ensure they are "fully supported in readiness for their exams". 

Councils across the country are carrying out safety checks on school buildings in the wake of the wake of the Edinburgh situation. 

Find the full story here. 

Seventeen schools in Edinburgh are closed - which ones are they?

Graphic
BBC

There are 88 primary schools, 23 high schools and 12 special schools in Edinburgh. However, 10 primaries, five secondaries and two special needs schools did not re-open after the Easter break. They included:

  • Braidburn School
  • Broomhouse Primary
  • Castleview Primary
  • Craigour Park Primary
  • Craigmount High
  • Craigroyston Primary
  • Drummond Community High
  • Firrhill High
  • Forthview Primary
  • Gracemount High
  • Oxgangs Primary School
  • Pirniehill Primary
  • Rowanfield
  • Royal High
  • St David's Primary
  • St Joseph's Primary
  • St Peter's Primary  

West Lothian's school estate is 'structurally sound and in good condition'

In a statement a spokesman for West Lothian Council said all the schools in the region were constructed to industry standards. 

West Lothian Council
West Lothian Council

He added:“All schools are continually assessed, maintained and upgraded where necessary and this approach will continue.

“Following the incident at Oxgangs Primary School, Edinburgh in January this year appropriate steps were taken as a precautionary measure to assess the school estate in West Lothian.

“All schools in West Lothian remain open and there are no plans to close any schools in West Lothian.”

Some pupils could be back in classrooms by Wednesday, Edinburgh Council confirms

Here are the main points from the latest update from the City of Edinburgh Council: 

  • All primary and secondary pupils will be back in school by Monday next week
  • In some cases alternative arrangements could be in place by Wednesday
  • "Significant work" has been undertaken to ensure that 2,000 S4, S5 and S6 pupils will be accommodated in high schools in Edinburgh
  • S4, S5 and S6 pupils from Firrhill, Drummond and Royal High Schools will be able to return to their own schools on Wednesday. 
  • An update for S4, S5 and S6 pupils at Gracemount and Craigmount High schools will be made tomorrow once arrangements are finalised.
  • Work continues to identify alternative arrangements for all S1 to S3 pupils.
  • Edinburgh University, the Scottish Parliament, community groups, venues and private sector companies have offered help with accommodating pupils
  • Structural surveys will continue this week

BreakingBREAKING:Urgent work will be required on several of the Edinburgh schools closed due to safety fears.

The city council confirmed that the 10 primaries affected will remain closed for the rest of the week.

Contingency plans are being put in place for the five high schools and pupils will be phased back to the classroom from Wednesday onwards.

All the schools in question were constructed under the same public private partnership contract.

Full story here.

BreakingBREAKING: Some pupils may be unable to return to school in Edinburgh until next Monday

In a statement on its website, the City of Edinburgh Council said it had drawn up contingency plans to ensure all primary and special school pupils will be back in schools by Monday of next week.

In some cases the alternative arrangements could be in place by Wednesday - subject to the council getting access to the closed schools while the surveys are ongoing. 

S4, S5, and S6 pupils from Firrhill, Drummond and Royal High Schools will be able to return to their own schools on Wednesday

An update for S4, S5 and S6 pupils at Gracemount and Craigmount High schools will be made tomorrow once arrangements are finalised.  

Advice for working parents affected by Edinburgh schools closure

BBC Radio Scotland

Donald McKinnon, director of legal services at Law at Work, said: "It's a very difficult situation for employees who have children off school - but it's also a headache for employers, I think."

He said employees have the right to take unpaid time off work for unexpected emergencies, such as a breakdown in childcare - but many will be able to reach an amicable agreement with their employer. 

If that is not the case, Mr McKinnon said: "The first thing an employee should do is look at their contract and check to see whether or not a situation like this is covered. 

"If they are still unsure, then there are plenty of sources of advice for them - whether that's a local solicitor, perhaps the Citizens Advice Bureau or Acas."

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale 'will not apologise' for use of PFI schemes

The SNP had called for the Labour party to apologise for its use of PFI schemes while it was in power at Holyrood. 

Ms Dugdale said Labour had needed to rebuild hundreds of schools across Scotland when it was in power at Holyrood because they had been "left in rack and ruin by the Tories" before the Scottish Parliament was created. 

She added: "I am not going to apologise for rebuilding hundreds of schools across Scotland. There are questions of course about what is happening around the quality of the building that has taken place, and yes we should examine those questions. 

Kezia Dugdale
SNS

"But right now the most important things are making sure that these buildings are safe, and that those students faced with exams have alternative, appropriate accommodation to help them continue with their studies." 

Watch: Edinburgh parent - Schools 'need sorted'

The parent of an Edinburgh pupil, who is due to sit exams, says the situation needs to be "sorted as soon as possible". 

Amanda McLeod

Amanda McLeod, whose daughter is due to sit Higher and National 5s says the focus should be on ensuring all pupils can sit their exams in their own schools.   

BBC Scotland's education correspondent Jamie McIvor explains the private funding model

Jamie McIvor

BBC Scotland education correspondent

It's fairly complicated in financial terms but in basic terms with these 17 schools in Edinburgh, the schools were built by a specially created group - the Edinburgh Schools Partnership - and are run by them. 

The council is not actually part of the partnership. The main parties involved at the start were Miller Construction and Amey. 

In effect the council is a tenant in the building, though actual running of the school itself is done by the council. 

Private finance schemes were always controversial. Some questioned whether they really were the best value for money. Others had questions about public sector buildings being managed in this way. The EIS union is making these points. 

Supporters argue they were the best value for money for the tax-payer and in some cases allowed the project to go ahead when it might not have been affordable. 

Inspections are being carried out at all the Edinburgh PPP schools

Edinburgh schools remain closed

Fears Edinburgh school closures will affect exam performance

Jamie McIvor

BBC Scotland education correspondent

The exams start in about three weeks time. Courses still have to be completed in some cases. If the school closures continue the loss of time with teachers could for some students at least be the difference between passing and failing, or getting the grade needed for university.

The chief executive for Edinburgh City Council is very confident that exams wouldn't be affected by the closures with contingency plans and alternative arrangements being put in place. 

A day of limbo for parents and students over closure of Edinburgh schools

Jamie McIvor

BBC Scotland education correspondent

It has been a day of limbo and indeed some students while we wait for news of the alternative arrangements. It is 10 primary schools, five secondaries and two schools for children with additional support needs closed.

There should be an update from Edinburgh City Council this evening. Their priority they say is the secondary schools because it is so close to exam season. We may get an announcement tomorrow about the temporary arrangements for them. 

One possibility is the that some of the school buildings may be partially re-opened. 

Nicola Sturgeon leads calls for a full inquiry into the closure of 17 schools amid safety concerns

Ms Sturgeon's SNP has also called for Labour to apologise for "signing up to extortionate PFI contracts" that had delivered "substandard buildings".

Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said her party had needed to rebuild schools because of the state the Conservatives had left them in before devolution.

Repairs to school in Edinburgh
BBC

The Liberal Democrats have also called for an inquiry to take place.

And the Conservatives accused the SNP of ignoring its suggestions on how such situations could be avoided.

Full story here

Edinburgh parents to be given update at tea-time

Emails, detailing the latest news on the 17 schools closed due to safety fears, are expected to be sent to parents after 18:00.  

More than 7,000 primary and secondary pupils in the capital were forced to stay at home on Monday while investigations of buildings was undertaken.

It is unclear when the schools will re-open. 

Highland Council has 'no cause for concern' over the safety of school buidings

In a statement the council said it would consult with its PPP partners over the 14 schools built in the region during two phases. 

It added: "The concerns in Edinburgh relate to an aspect of the construction of PPP schools. 

"Given the inspections of Highland’s PPP properties at the time of these builds, and the ongoing monitoring, the council is confident that there are no concerns."

Highland Council building in Inverness
Google

The statement went on: "However, we will arrange meetings with the providers, to agree an appropriate programme of new inspections from this week. 

"We will also review the new builds currently being led by the council."

The council added that it was confident that the construction inspection regime on the PPP school works was sound.

Falkirk Council asks for 'immediate assurances' on the safety of schools

A spokesman for the council said that nine of its schools were built under PFI or NPDO (non-profit distributing organisation) by Gateway and Class98 (Seperian). 

He added:“We have asked for immediate assurances from the companies involved in the running and construction of the schools that the schools are safe and structurally sound. 

"We have also asked for a complete guarantee on these assurances and that they carried out their responsibilities correctly.

“This work will be carried out at no financial cost to Falkirk Council."

Falkirk Council
Falkirk Council

All of the council's schools are expected to open as normal on Monday 18 April.

All Edinburgh schools affected by closures were built under the same public private partnership contract

Aberdeen City Council is carrying out precautionary safety checks on 10 PPF schools. Inverclyde is inspecting five facilities.

Glasgow city council say their PPP contractor has reassured the authority that nothing has been found which would make the council feel it should be closing schools. 

Fife, Moray and Aberdeenshire say they're not affected by the issues.

Stirling Council to carry out checks while pupils remain on holiday

A Stirling Council spokesperson said: “As a precautionary measure we will be carrying out checks across our school estate – covering PPP schools and others - from today (Monday) and continuing through this week while pupils are on holiday.”

North Lanarkshire Council 'did not use the same building contractor'

The council's chief executive Paul Jukes said: “North Lanarkshire Council did not use the same building contractor as Edinburgh City Council.

“Initial inspections have been carried out and no issues have been reported.”

North Lanarkshire Council
North Lanarkshire Council

East Lothian Council taking school closures 'extremely seriously' as they seek assurances

East Lothian Council said in a statement: "Our six secondary schools, the Mercat Gait Centre and the Musselburgh Community Learning Centre have been refurbished under a PPP arrangement but this was not with the same construction company related to the affected City of Edinburgh Council schools.

"However, we are taking this issue extremely seriously and are in the process of seeking assurances from Infrastructure Managers Ltd who are responsible for ensuring our secondary schools and two community facilities are managed and maintained to a very safe standard. 

Mercat Gait Centre
Google

"There are many condition surveys and works carried out in support of the properties being managed and maintained to a high standard by ourselves and Infrastructure Managers Ltd.

"We are liaising closely with the City of Edinburgh Council to determine the exact nature of the issues affecting their school closures.

"In respect of our Primary Schools they are not part of any PPP arrangement and we will continue to conduct appropriate condition surveys and associated works to ensure the safety of our school buildings."

Midlothian council say 'no structural issues were identified' in schools survey

A statement from Midlothian Council, in response to 17 schools being closed in Edinburgh, said: "We anticipate that parents, carers and local residents will be aware that some Edinburgh schools are currently closed while structural investigations are carried out.

"We confirm that none of our school buildings were built by the same contractor responsible for the Edinburgh PPI schools in question and we would like to take the opportunity to stress our continued commitment to ensuring the safety of everyone using school buildings in Midlothian."

Midlothian Council
Midlothian Council

The council also say regular surveys have been carried out, including in the wake of a wall collapsing at Liberton High School in 2014 which killed 12-year-old pupil Keane Wallis-Bennett.

"Further inspections of our own estate also started in March 2016, in response to the situation in Edinburgh, and are due to finish on Tuesday 12 April. 

"A formal process is in place which allows immediate repairs to a school building, including isolating the area if there are health and safety concerns."

Scottish Borders Council says 'no areas of concern' during inspections after pupil's death

All schools in the region were checked following the death of 12-year-old pupil Keane Wallis-Bennett at Liberton High School in 2014.

A council spokesman said: "Following these inspections, some minor remedial works were carried out at the region’s three Public Private Partnership (PPP) schools – Berwickshire, Earlston and Eyemouth high schools – but no significant issues were identified.

"In addition, further inspections were carried out on 29 January this year at the Borders’ PPP schools following the damage to Oxgangs Primary School in Edinburgh caused by high winds.

"No areas of concerns at any of the sites were found during these inspections.

Keane Wallis-Bennett
BBC

"In response to the decision on Friday 9 April around Edinburgh’s PFI schools, the Council will engage with the Scottish Government and Edinburgh City Council to seek further information. We will also work with our partner Scottish Borders Education Partnership (SBEP) to consider if further assessments are required.

"SBEP is committed to working in partnership with SBC to ensure the safety of the pupils and safe operation of its buildings.

"At this time, there is no information which indicates there are any issues at the Borders’ three PPP schools."

'Serious structural issues' spotted in 10-year-old buildings

The closure of the schools, which are about 10 years old, was prompted after workers repairing serious structural issues at one city primary found "further serious defects" with the building on Friday.

Edinburgh Schools Partnership (ESP), which operates the schools, could not provide safety assurances.

Gracemount High Schol
BBC

WATCH: Parents express their anger at school closures

The buildings were closed after safety concerns about their construction.

About 7,000 pupils have been affected while a series of safety inspections is being carried out.

BBC Scotland's Lisa Summers reports.

Edinburgh schools remain closed

Aberdeen schools to undergo safety inspections

Safety checks will be carried out this week on schools built under Aberdeen city council's 3 Rs public-private financing project.

The council says structural checks are being carried out purely as a precaution on eight primary and two secondary schools.

They were built or refurbished by Danish firm Pihl and Scottish builders Robertson construction. Moray and Aberdeenshire councils both say their schools are unaffected.

Western Isles schools to be checked despite not being funded under PPP

The Scottish government's contribution to the new schools was through capital and revenue grant.

A council spokesman said: "There are no particular concerns. However, as a precautionary measure we will be carrying out inspections this week, before the schools re-open, at the six new schools built under the Sgoiltean Ùra project."

Western Isles Council
Google

NHS Grampian seeks building assurances after school concerns

Centres at Woodside in Aberdeen and Forres were built by Miller Construction under a public private partnership (PPP) in 2014.

Miller also built Aberdeen's Health and Care Village.

NHS Grampian said that, while the buildings were of a different design to schools, it had asked for assurances that similar defects were not inherent in any of the designs.

NHS Grampian logo
NHS Grampian

An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson said: "We can confirm that Miller Construction was not involved in any of Aberdeen City Council's school build programme (the 3Rs Project), which involved Public Private Partnership (PPP).

"As a matter of precaution we have organised a series of structural tests on the schools, which were built or refurbished as part of the council's 3Rs Project.

"These tests will be carried out this week during the school holidays."

Scottish Parliament offers to accommodate children during closure of Edinburgh schools

A Scottish Parliamentary spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Parliament has offered to assist Edinburgh Council in accommodating displaced schoolchildren.

"The Council is currently considering our offer.”

Scottish parliament
Getty

The Scottish Lib Dems say school exams should be delayed if need be

The party's education spokesman Liam McArthur said: "There will be a time to look into the details of the PFI deal and we will need a full inquiry into how we got here.

“But our priority right now needs to be the safety of pupils and school staff. We also need to ensure those students preparing to take exams are not left in the dark.

school exams
Getty Images

"There is a strong case for the SQA to look again at the timings of some of these papers.

"If exams need to be delayed then they should be and the exam boards need to work with schools to ensure that this is done with minimum disruption."  

Ruth Davidson says school closures 'are unprecedented'

The Scottish Conservative leader said: “It's unprecedented to have so many schools closed down at once, and at such a critical exam time for students. This demonstrates the seriousness of the situation.

"We made perfectly reasonable and constructive suggestions on how such situations could be prevented, but the SNP did nothing. Now councils are being forced to hastily close the school gates when many pupils are preparing to sit potentially life-changing exams.

"The SNP must explain why it ignored our calls, and say what it plans to do to stop a repeat across other school areas." 

Ruth Davidson
BBC

SNP 'ignored calls to make schools submit building reports' say Scottish Conservatives

The Scottish Conservatives say they asked three times over the last two years for schools to prove their buildings were up to scratch, as well as the quality of education provided, as part of the inspections regime.

It comes as 17 schools across Edinburgh have been forced to close amid safety fears. Scottish Conservative young people spokeswoman Liz Smith said: “I raised this issue in parliament two years ago on account of the concerns raised by parents and by some local authorities. At the time, the Scottish government paid lip service to my proposal, but in the intervening time it has washed its hands of it."

School being fixed
BBC

Moray council assure parents over buildings following Edinburgh schools closures

Moray Council’s director of education and Social Care, Laurence Findlay said: “Miller Construction, the contractors responsible for the schools built under the PPP initiative in Edinburgh, has not undertaken any work on behalf of the Moray Council.

"We have a five-year rolling programme of health and safety and building standards audits on our schools carried out by our quantity surveyor staff. We are confident that all our schools meetappropriate standards. 

Moray council
Moray council

"However we have no complacency in relation to the standards of our school buildings and we continue to monitor our school estate very closely at all times.”  

WATCH: Council chief executive on pupil safety

Andrew Kerr, chief executive of City of Edinburgh council, says safety of pupils is the priority

'Health and safety is paramount'

Edinburgh council schools closure latest

  • 17 schools closed in Edinburgh over construction concerns, affecting 7,000 pupils
  • Some schools will not re-open this week
  • Schools affected were built under the Public Private Partnership 1 project
  • Councils across Scotland urged by Scottish government to check safety of school buildings
  • Similar problems uncovered at Craigmount and Gracemount High Schools during initial surveys 
School
BBC

Councils checking schools after call from Scottish government

“Perth and Kinross Council regularly inspects and reviews all properties they are responsible for," said a spokesman for Perth & Kinross Council.

"None of the schools within Perth and Kinross were built by the contractors who built the schools in Edinburgh, however, for reassurance, we will conduct inspections of our schools where required in line with the request from the Scottish Government.”

A Dundee City Council spokesman also said: "Dundee City Council officers are making arrangements to see if appropriate actions are required."

Scottish Parliament could accommodate displaced pupils following Edinburgh school closures

A Scottish Parliamentary spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Parliament has offered to assist Edinburgh Council in accommodating displaced schoolchildren. The Council is currently considering our offer.”

Scottish parliament
Getty Images

It follows the closure of 17 schools in Edinburgh, leaving 7,000 pupils unable to attend lessons.

Two more Edinburgh schools discover 'similar' building problems

Update