Independent inquiry into school closures published

The  independent report into the closure of 17 Edinburgh schools has been published.

The Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Construction of Edinburgh Schools (PDF 3.8MB) was commissioned by Chief Executive Andrew Kerr last summer after the collapse of a wall at Oxgangs Primary School and subsequent closure of 17 schools.

It was led by respected construction and procurement industry expert, Professor John Cole CBE. During the course of the Inquiry, Professor Cole interviewed representatives from those who built the schools, architects, structural engineers, parents, teachers and current and former Council staff.

Some of the key findings from the report, which runs to over 250 pages, include

  • the collapse of the wall was due to poor construction and inadequate supervision;
  • insufficient independent quality assurance and poor record keeping by the Council and ESP;
  • ineffective quality assurance measures within the construction industry;
  • the Council made the correct decision to close the 17 schools;
  • the alternative education arrangements put in place for over 8,300 pupils was a ‘remarkable feat’;
  • the issues identified in Edinburgh are likely to be more widespread.

The report contains many recommendations for the Council and other bodies, both public and private, as well as the construction industry. 

The Chief Executive will now draw up an action plan specific to the Council recommendations so that they are all addressed individually.  

The Council has already started a full survey of all buildings across the estate which will be complete by the end of the year.  This will be followed by a five year rolling programme of regular follow up surveys.

During the course of the Inquiry, Professor Cole highlighted some issues relating to fire safety in PPP1 schools. This is an issue that been has been identified right across the UK and the Council has been working with Edinburgh Schools Partnership to investigate all such concerns. ESP has confirmed that all remedial works identified last autumn are complete and the schools are safe to occupy.

Professor Cole presented the independent inquiry report to Council on Thursday 9 February.  Watch the meeting on the webcast archive.  


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