Berwickshire’s new high schools checks

Eyemouth High School
Eyemouth High School

As the fall-out continues over the condition of recently built schools in Edinburgh assurances have been made that Berwickshire’s recently built high schools are sound.

Eyemouth and Berwickshire High Schools were built as part of a public private partnership (PPP) similar to the Edinburgh schools, and along with all Borders schools were inspected in 2014.

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 in January this year at the Borders’ PPP schools following the damage to Oxgangs Primary School in Edinburgh caused by high winds.

Scottish Borders Council said there were “no areas of concerns at any of the sites found during these inspections”.

Seventeen PPI schools in Edinburgh were closed this week, Miller Construction who built the city schools, conceding that “further serious defects” had been found at Oxgangs and another school and that both were no longer safe to occupy”. The Scottish Government contacted all local councils about similar projects.

None of the three new high schools in the Borders which opened in 2009, were built by Miller Construction.

A council statement this week said: “In response to the decision on Friday, April 9, 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. SBC expects all schools to open as normal following the Easter holidays on Monday, April 18.”

The new Eyemouth High School building was damaged by heavy rain within months of opening in 2009 when water leaked into the building.

SBEP who own all three high schools - Earlston, Berwickshire and Eyemouth - said at the time: “Amey, facilities management contractor and building partner Graham Construction attended the school to evaulate the situation and undertook the necessary emergency repairs.”

The problem was said to be maintenance related, rather than an integral problem with the building, damage restricted to two areas of ceiling tiles.