Aberdeenshire Councillors have been given a briefing from senior officials regarding the school buildings within Aberdeenshire built and operated under the private finance initiative [PFI] or the later public private partnership [PPP].
Councillor Paul Johnston said:
” I had already raised this with the council at director level as soon as the Edinburgh problem became evident. This briefing is welcome as an assurance. There are some other significant questions that need answering and substantial clarification is possibly still required”
The inspections are understood to cover Oldmeldrum academy and Meldrum primary school that lie within the Mid Formartine ward.
The briefing issued two Councillors is below:
Education & Children’s Services
SCHOOL BUILDING UP-DATE
As members will be aware, following the recent failure of a gable wall in Oxgangs Primary School in Edinburgh, the Minister for Learning, Science & Scotland’s Languages, has written all Scottish Councils indicating that it would be an appropriate step for all Councils to assure themselves of the school estate they provide and undertake surveys and inspections where necessary.
Aberdeenshire Council’s Position
Our school estate is regularly monitored with reports to Committees and Scottish Government. Indeed, our extensive inspection and maintenance programme includes those schools built via partnership arrangements.
An ambitious capital plan is in place to refurnish, renovate and create new facilities investing millions of pounds in the next few years, this includes new primary/secondary schools and leisure facilities.
We are confident in the design and construction process of our schools on which we work closely with contractors and also in ensuring due diligence has taken place in our facilities programmes.
In order to provide further assurance for parents and the wider community, it is planned that PPP Schools in Aberdeenshire are inspected this week. It should be noted that these were not built by Miller Construction.
We will also request Galliford Try (Alford Academy), Farrans (Ellon Academy) and Lend Lease (Mearns Academy) to provide assurances re their buildings’ structural integrity and condition.