Statement - Decant of Westfield Court Nursery School

Health & Safety officers have recommended that alternative accommodation should be found for Westfield Court Nursery pupils.

The nursery is situated on the top floor of a multi-storey block and concerns have been raised about safe evacuation routes for children in the event of a fire. Council officials are set to prepare a report on future use of the facility.

Over the last two years the nursery has been visited on a number of occasions by Council Health & Safety staff and on two occasions by Lothian & Borders Fire & Rescue Service. Despite adaptations to the building and improvements in evacuation procedures, a significant risk remains. 

City Education Leader Cllr Marilyne MacLaren said:

"Because of its situation, Westfield Court Nursery has been subject to special health and safety reviews for some time now. After each review we make adaptations and improvements to the building and to its safety procedures. 

"The latest check revealed that there is nothing more we can do at this stage to address the fire risk associated with getting a large number of small children down seven flights of stairs from the top floor of the block.  The only option open to our health and safety officers has been to recommend a decant to other nursery facilities.

"We have no option but to take their advice and act on it - I won't put the safety of children at risk. I understand that a move may be difficult for parents but I want them to be assured that places are available at the nearby Tynecastle and Calderglen nurseries and that staff will move with children. 

"These nurseries are of the highest quality - children can expect a warm welcome and an excellent early years education."

Places are available at Tynecastle Nursery for mainstream pupils and at Calderglen for children with additional support needs.  A report that recommends that the 25 children should be moved by the end of November will be presented to the Education, Children & Families Committee on 12th October for consideration.  If agreed, officers will prepare a further report on longer term options for Westfield Court Nursery School.

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