Protect children by properly maintaining school buildings, Tories urge

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School buildings need to be properly maintained to protect children, the Scottish Conservatives have said.

New figures reveal at least 150 building safety incidents were recorded at Scottish schools in the last two years.

A freedom of information request was made to local authorities in Scotland asking them to detail incidents involving either the collapse or partial collapse of a wall or structure, or a child or teacher being struck by a falling object.

Of the 32 councils contacted, 18 published a response to the request made by the Tories.

Three of the incidents took place at Liberton High in Edinburgh, the school where 12-year-old Keane Wallis-Bennett died when a wall collapsed in 2014.

Incidents reported across schools in Scotland included the falling of tiles or concrete and the collapse of walls, roofs or doors.

Dundee reported the highest number of incidents, with 49 reports over 2017-2018.

Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary Liz Smith said: “Each one of these incidents represents a risky situation that children or staff have been put in while at school.

“Children and staff must be safe at school and the fabric of the school buildings must be maintained properly.

“Including building reports in school inspections is an obvious way to ensure that school buildings are fit for purpose and prevent any more avoidable accidents.

“It is extremely fortunate that more children or staff haven’t been hurt.

“The SNP must ensure that schools are properly built and maintained – including building reports in school inspections would enable effective monitoring of school buildings and prevent further harm.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The health and safety of all pupils while at school in Scotland is of paramount importance to us.

“All local authorities have a statutory responsibility to manage and maintain the school estate and provide a safe environment for young people and staff.

“In the current year, councils will receive a local government finance settlement of £10.7 billion.

“This will provide a real-terms boost in both revenue and capital funding for public services, including education budgets.”

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