Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh council postpones students' practical exams

Workers on site at Oxgangs Primary School Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Safety inspections have been carried out at the school affected by the closures

Practical exams due to be held this week have been postponed due to the Edinburgh schools closures.

The city council decided on Friday to shut 17 schools amid safety fears.

About 7,600 pupils missed the first two days of the new term following the Easter break and most will not be back in class until next week.

The council has now announced that practical exams due to take place at the five high schools affected by the closure have been postponed.

Five secondaries, 10 primaries and two additional support needs schools were shut due to concerns over structural issues.

All of the schools, which are about 10 years old, were constructed under the same public private partnership contract.

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Media caption17 sites were shut last Friday amid fears over the standard of their construction.

Priority in returning pupils to school was given to high school students in fourth, fifth and sixth year who are preparing for key exams.

In a statement on its website, the council said: "Positive discussions have been taking place with the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) who have agreed that verification and examining visits for all subjects that were due to take place this week have been postponed and rescheduled with individual schools.

"SQA continues to work with the five schools to provide advice and support, if they require any additional resources.

"All pupils taking exams will be in their schools with their teachers by tomorrow."

It added that more than 4,400 pupils now have schools arrangements in place.

"We have communicated directly with parents at these schools," the statement continued.

"Work is ongoing to identify alternative arrangements for the remaining pupils.

"We anticipate that all affected primary and special school pupils will be allocated new school places by Tuesday next week as the Monday is a Spring Bank Holiday."

Why are the Edinburgh schools closed?

The majority of the 2,000 pupils preparing for exams at the five high schools affected resumed lessons on Wednesday.

Senior pupils from three secondaries - Drummond High, Firhill High and The Royal High School - were able to return to their usual building as they only had partial refurbishments as part of the PPP project.

Older Gracemount students were asked to report to Liberton High School.

The council's latest update said:

  • S1-S3 pupils should return to Drummond High School at 09:00 on Thursday
  • S4-S6 pupils from Craigmont High should attend Tynecastle High School on Thursday
  • Firhill High School's S3 pupils can return to school at 09:30 on Thursday
  • S3 students at The Royal High School can return on Thursday.

There was still no word on younger pupils at Craigmount, Firhill, Gracemount and The Royal High.

Image caption Inspections are being carried out at all the Edinburgh PPP schools

Lessons resumed for pupils from two primary schools on Wednesday and arrangements are in place for pupils at three more primaries, two from Friday and one from Tuesday.

Children attending one of the additional needs support schools affected will be sent to one of five new locations from Friday, while at the other additional needs support school plans are in place for Thursday and Friday.

It is hoped plans for the remaining primaries will be in place by next Tuesday, the local authority said.

Andrew Kerr, City of Edinburgh Council chief executive, said the arrangements had been "a huge logistical exercise".

The local authority said some families who relied on free school meals had approached city food banks as a result of schools being closed.

It said money from the Scottish Welfare Fund would be made available to families in need, distributed to affected families directly, via school head teachers.

The care inspectorate is also allowing some child care providers to extend the number of youngsters they can look after during the crisis.

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